Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
National Health - Of Queues and Cures CD (album) cover


National Health


Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 497 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Thai Divone
5 stars I don't remember exactly when I first heard them, but to this day they are still with me. It's a band that is so unique, and so magnificent, that I don' really have the words to describe what I feel for them. Hearing their melodies make my smile uncontrollably, and for ages I hummed their melodies (and it ain't easy, mind ya). And yet, I don't think that I can leave them outside of my reviews list, even though the rating is clear from the first sentence.

"The Bryden 2-steps (for amphibians) part 1" opens the album, with some birds and a synth, with some soft organ sounds. Some keyboards-bass noes follow, and for the first 2 minutes nothing really happens. And then the song explodes, with a great guitar motive that just screams perfection. The rhythm in here is just magical, and the organs just complement the guitar beautifully. The song continues through a series of metamorphoses, before a little bit after the 4 minutes mark it changes again, and then again. At the 5 minutes mark begins a new short section that sounds like its coming from a fifties jazz show, before we get back to our variations on the motive, with a great solo guitar beginning at the 6 minutes mark. The keyboards-guitar duet in the closing section is no less than pure minimalist genius.

"The Collapso" is a different beast, with a great rhythm and a nice play on this unique style. The overdrive guitar is magnificent, and actually- every line, every instrument role in here, is just so demanding and complex that one can just listen to every instrument on its own and still be amazed, not to mention the combination. And even so, the percussions in here just steal the show for me.

"Squarer for Maud" opens with a great bass line, with some very dark and claustrophobic overtones. Over this repetitive line layers are added and instruments just try to top each other, without really breaking free or seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. After 2 and a half minutes the Henry Cow influence is finally taking the lead, with some avant-garde sounds and textures, joined by an amazing guitar solo. The saxophone answers greatly to the call, before the song changes back and the tempo is rising slowly but steadily. As we come closer to the 6 minutes mark layers are taken out, but the avant-garde factor rises at the speed of light. And then, a short silence before some spoken poetry takes center stage, and the guitar goes soloing a few seconds later. It still sounds dark and morbid, even though it is now carrying some more weight. Clarinet is added next, after the tempo rises again, and the keyboards do their usual magic. As we come towards the end, the piano, the drums and the cello take the stage, leading us closer and closer towards the unavoidable end. The entire song has a Henry Cow vibe to it, which is only fitting and a huge win for me.

Dreams Wide Awake opens with some of the craziest organ lines ever put on a vinyl, with the added beauty of a great bass and drums combination to complement it. Stewart here sounds like he took way too many drugs, 2 and a half minutes and the song changes completely, and the entire band just do some magic tricks in the recording studio. The mood and tempo change regularly and continuously, and the meter doesn't stay the same for more than a few seconds. The guitar starts soloing at the 6 minutes mark, before a change of pace and mood takes place. So the guitar just goes dueting with Stewart.

Binoculars opens with a Hammond, creating an atmosphere of loneliness. After a minute the bass joins in, and vocals kick in 20 seconds later. The drumming is quite, yet outstanding, and the short bridges are beautiful. A strange lament on the addiction to television, way to relevant to our days. The flute solo, beginning around the 3 minutes mark adds another layer of genius, and then the rest of the band join back in, slowly, really slowly, making them sound even more like a jazz ensemble than they sometimes sound. The drumming grows much more prevalent, and a nice keyboards solo comes next. Then we slow down for a dramatic interval, and then we get a little avant-garde bridge utilizing a few saxes and other wind instruments. Vocals come back at around the 8th minute mark. We get another wonderful guitar solo to close the song, with the bass and the drums playing melodies that are just as wonderful if not even more.

Phlakhaton is a quick change of pace before we get back to The Bryden Part 2, beginning with a great keyboards line with some great drumming and bass lines underneath, and then the guitar kicks in. the atmosphere here takes the center stage, with the variations on the first part taking the second, smaller one. What a great way to close a perfect album?

I guess that by now it is pretty clear- for me it a solid 5 stars. I can't imagine a collection without it.

Thai Divone | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this NATIONAL HEALTH review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.