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Hatfield And The North - Hatfield And The North CD (album) cover

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH

Hatfield And The North

 

Canterbury Scene

4.29 | 504 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Talk about an all-star cast ! Even the guests are all-stars. Namely Robert Wyatt formerly with SOFT MACHINE and Geoff Leigh from HENRY COW. This was Richard Sinclair's first band after he left CARAVAN and he teams back up with Phil Miller who had left CARAVAN an album earlier than he did to join MATCHING MOLE. Of course Robert Wyatt was in MATCHING MOLE as well. Dave Stewart came from EGG via KHAN and Pip Pyle came from GONG. Although there are 17 tracks including the 2 bonus songs(an a & b side single released in 1974) the songs actually blend into each other all the way through giving the impression of one seamless track. I have to agree with fellow reviewer Andrea Cortese that this is a difficult listen (at least the first half is) and while I prefer the more melodic follow up "The Rotters' Club", I have to say this blows me away. The musicianship is second to none here and it's very challenging and complex instrumentally to say the least.

"The Stubbs Effect" is a short piano intro while "Big Jobs (Poo Poo Extract)" is a pleasant song where we get vocals for the first time. "Going Up To People And Tinkling" is a jazzy little number with outstanding drums and bass work. "Calyx" features Robert Wyatt doing vocal melodies throughout. "Son Of "There's No Place Like Homerton"" has some great keyboard play as well as female vocals, flute and lots of horns late. "Aigrette" is led by drums, bass and vocal melodies. "Rifferama" is more uptempo with some good guitar.This song really stands out from what has gone on before. "Fol De Rol" is relaxed with vocals, but "Shaving Is Boring" is anything but relaxed. This Is fantastic ! Such an intense, driving number with some good guitar and organ late. Check out the fuzz too.

The next three songs are laid back with vocals and they seem to blurr together as one before we get to "Lobster In Cleavage Probe". This one has female vocals, flute, gentle keys and guitar before becoming more urgent later. Great section ! The tempo picks up late. "Gigantic Land Crabs In Earth Takeover Bid" really impresses me with the aggressive guitar that goes on for quite a while. Nice. The two bonus tracks would have fit well on "The Rotters' Club", actually "Fitter Stoke Has A Bath" is on the followup but it's a longer version. The best vocals on this record are on "Let's Eat (Real Soon) while Phil gives us some great guitar on "Fitter Stoke Has A Bath".

I love this record, it's adventerous and challenging and it's also essential listening for Canterbury fans.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |

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