With “Freq”, Calvert’s work concentrate on the possibilities of modern electronics shot through with a socio- political consciousness that both dates the album dramatically and serves as a priceless time capsule. Britain in 1984, after all, was not the happiest of lands, as a coal miners strike dragged interminably on, technological advances sent the jobless queues soaring, and Irish terrorism cast its own pall over the country. In addressing these issues, “Freq” emerged as chilling a portrait as any of Calvert’s earlier essays into science fiction, the only difference being ? to quote one of his own early Hawkwind-era lyrics ? this was the reality, however grim. Freq featured eight musical offerings (of which 2 bonus tracks) and five spoken word cuts, recorded on location on a miners’ picket line. The ensuing patchwork, alternately powered by the heated tempers of the strike and the cold deliberation of the electronics, is often breathtaking, all the more so since Calvert’s own lyricism is stripped to a minimum that offers little room for conjecture or re-interpretation. “All the Machines Are Quiet” is especially poignant, as Calvert himself adopts the persona of a striker to reiterate the insistence that “all we wanted was a living wage.” “The Cool Courage of the Bomb Squad Officers” too, awakens emotions that are all too often left unspoken, as it recounts, moment by moment, the defusing of a terrorist weapon. Not until the final cut, “Work Song” does Freq’s parade of horrors finally cease, a light and easy air accompanying a worker’s ruminations on a happy home life and the joy of a job in which his mind is free to soar wherever it will. After so much pessimism, it’s a handy reminder that, even in the darkest hour, some people can still find happiness.