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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 | 477 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AdamHearst
5 stars Hatfield & the North have long been my favorite Canterbury configuration... it's hard to decide which of their two albums i like more. After much deliberation I've arrived at the conclusion that this debut is not only Hatfield's best, but the best Canterbury album i've ever heard!

The music is free flowing trippy Jazz Rock that harbors some Pop sensibilities (when it wants to) and a healthy dose of absurd British humor.

Dave Stewart's Jazz Organ is all over this record and is (in my mind) a defining element of the Canterbury sound. The whole band is extremely talented and everyone eventually takes a solo and gets their moment to shine.

The longer instrumental sections can tend to fade into the background, which isn't all bad (this is great background music as it turns out), but when the vocals sporadically reappear it brings everything back into sharp focus... only then do you realize 'wow, this is some of the greatest music i've ever heard'!

I prefer the vocal-laced songs to the instrumental flights: there are a few female-three-piece-vocal-harmony sections which are absolutely angelic and dreamy... 'Calx' features wordless vocal melodies of unspeakable beauty courtesy of Robert Wyatt... and Richard Sinclair gives his usual amazing vocal performance throughout: complete with bizarre lyrics and trademark lip-tremor gimmick.

'Rifferama' is the best instrumental song; every member is totally on fire here! This song contains some insanely good Jazz Fusion guitar and organ solos and one of Pip Pyle's best all-time drum performances.

The CD bonus tracks are very VERY good and really make this album an essential purchase. The bonus songs were originally only available on an EP (i believe) and they are a bit more vocal-centric, melodic, and streamlined than Hatfield's average album material.

This is probably the most accessible album in the land of Canterbury; I highly recommend this to anyone looking to get into that scene. A lot of people would probably recommend Caravan's 'Grey and Pink' first, but (for my tastes) this album is superior... a masterpiece even!

AdamHearst | 5/5 |

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