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National Health - Of Queues And Cures CD (album) cover


National Health


Canterbury Scene

4.26 | 458 ratings

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5 stars The second National Health album is without question one of the major highlights of the Canterbury scene, despite coming relatively late in the game both in terms of that scene and in terms of the heyday of progressive rock itself. The album opens with lilting synthesizers and birdsong before transitioning into the ferocious, driving rhythm of The Bryden 2-step (Part I), all courtesy of Pip Pyle's stunning drumming throughout the track. The major compositions were for the most part divided among the core group of musicians, a slight change from the first album where Stewart was the main writer. The album simply moves from one outstanding track to the next; the musicianship is of the highest caliber throughout the entire record. This author admits a certain predilection indeed for the first side - the relentlessness of Bryden Part I, the brilliance of Stewart on the Hammond on The Collapso, the majesty of Squarer for Maud - rivals anything that progressive rock has ever produced. While difficult to pinpoint any single highlight, as the entirety of the record is just sheer brilliance, it seems to this writer that the Greaves composition Squarer for Maud seems to encapsulate everything that Dave Stewart wanted this band to be - a rock orchestra of sorts playing some of the most intricate and challenging music conceivable, a feeling certainly enhanced by the presence of guest musicians such as Georgie Born on cello and Jimmy Hastings on clarinet and flute. For those that claim prog was dead by 1977 one merely has to hand such detractors a copy of this album and their mind shall be changed forever more, as they are in possession of one of the best albums of all time. An easy 5 stars for this masterpiece.
Padraic | 5/5 |


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