The Last Flight of The Hope Dempsey album – by the duo of Brendan McCusker and Andy Samford – calling themselves “The Rendlesham Forest Incident”, is a suitably hard rock chugger modeled after the primordial space rock band, Hawkwind. In fact, with the first track, Time Between Times; some might say it’s modeled a little TOO closely on Hawkwind. That is, the track lifts much from their classic Master of the Universe. That said, despite the ’70’s era spacerock references one often hears in the album; after a complete listen, the guys can be forgiven, because they transcend all that with their obvious enthusiasm for the genre AND good, tight musicianship. And after all, isn’t all genre music a retelling of the same original innovation over and over? This is especially true of spacerock; we fans eat that shit up – the phasing, the warbling tone generators, and guitar freakouts, etc. etc. So if, as I say, it’s done as enthusiastically – as it is with this – and with talent to burn, all is forgiven! Fans familiar with Samford and McCusker will recognize them from their previous bands, Telestrion, and Pickman’s Model, respectively.
It starts with the demented “emergency broadcast” announcement that all listeners should “turn up the volume on their receivers ‘as loud as it can go’ “; and blasts off with the aforementioned opener. It’s a tale by an unknown entity detailing his activities through time “monitoring the human race”. One gets the feeling they’ve done their homework, as the actual Rendlesham Forest incident is a famous UFO case. The next track, The Bell is a sort of interlude with a sinewy middle eastern flavor and wordless mantras;
which takes us into Solar Barge (the same tune, really). This track is my personal fave, as it weaves a hypnotic spell, alluding to dead Pharaohs and their journey to the other side in the afterlife. Then it’s on to ‘side two’ – possibly with intent to have this on vinyl at some point – and this starts with the ominous paranoia of Space Jester. Here, electronics burble up with the repeating guitar signature, taking us on a relentless ride, along with the crew of a seemingly doomed ship in unknown difficulty.
Last Flight is another segue with electronics and flight control announcements. It moves on into The Traveller,
with vocal by Samford (actually McCusker does vocal work on all except this track). Its Iommi-like rhythm guitar crunch, and tasty lead work are both by Samford. The last track, Opiumholen der Mars (opium dens of Mars), is the psychedelic slide out, a cosmic chill out of sorts after all the ‘Sturm und Drang’ of earlier.
The drumming by McCusker is excellent throughout, and all the electronics are tastefully held in check so as to serve the old school rock sound. All in all, a worthy addition to the genre. For a “limited time” downloads on bandcamp.com (only source of the recording at this writing) includes several bonus tracks, a couple of edits and two instrumentals. Those most likely will be held off any vinyl release, but I’m hoping they keep download track #6 “Krautrock experiment” as a CD album ending track, as it has a guitar improv by Samford that one can tell came from a deep honest inside, which one rarely hears in today’s world of ‘perfect takes’. It then ends with a wild synth sqwonk, an excellent brain frying outro to the whole – if they so decide to keep it. Three thumbs up – if you’re a mutoid – and two way up for the rest of us!
For more information you can visit The Rendlesham Forest Incident web site at: http://trfi.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by Marc Paskvan