album, a sort of re-definition of the band in the face of the emergence of punk rock
, notable chiefly for Robert Calvert
's thoughtful and sharply constructed lyrics, Spirit of the Age
and Days of the Underground
The band's sound heads more in the direction of a conventional rock combo than some of their earlier productions. Less less sonic bleeping and tweeting, more vocals, and less noodley modal soloing. In a way, the cleaner more polished sound on this album is less punk than some of their earlier works - which were, despite the hippy trappings, pleasantly raw, and pretty up-tempo.
The main concession to the emerging musical style is in Calvert's vocals, where he sometimes tries for the quirky melodic lines you'd associate with Toyah or Lena Lovitch, maybe, at that time (I can't think of male examples, but I'm sure there were some). Concessions to the traditional Hawkwind audience are apparent in Hassan i Sahbba - which has gorgeous eastern flavoured violin from Simon House, and in the instrumentals, which are simple sequencer riffs, similar in construction to the Pink Floyd track On The Run (from Dark Side of the Moon), and probably come as close to being "filler" as anything the band had released up to this point.
1 - Spirit of the Age
2 - Damnation Alley
3 - Fable of a Failed Race
4 - Quark, Strangeness and Charm
5 - Hassan i Sahba
6 - The Forge of Vulcan*
7 - Days of the Underground
8 - Iron Dream*
Robert Calvert, doing himself no favours, had this to say about the album in a 1977 interview for BBC Radio One's Rock on show:
"Quark" is one of the few albums available at the moment which is very much in touch with the modern world, and Hawkwind is a band which has always been in touch with the modern world, in spite of what people say in the press, boringly and interminably, that we are left over from a
peace and love psychedelic era, which we were in fact, a part of, but we were still very much in touch with what was outside of that - that revolution at the time, and we still are. The album`s title itself is an expression of modern physics terminology ... You will find on this album a selection of musical and poetical interpretations of the world we live in, including the threat, not only of nuclear war, but the threat of the Middle East becoming a very powerful influence on the future of this globe, as they are proving at the moment with their dominance of the energy resources.
Also, the title track
of the album, an unserious and historically inaccurate observation on the love-lives of famous astronomers.