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

OF QUEUES AND CURES

National Health

 

Canterbury Scene

4.18 | 256 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

St.Cleve Chronicle
5 stars National Health only got to make 3 long playing albums during it's lifetime, and were really lucky to find a record company that agreed to put them out. After all, it was the late 70's, when progressive rock was not quite on the height of it's popularity. But if the amount of the music they made wasn't huge, it was certainly high quality stuff. "Of queues and cures" is not one of the most well known prog albums, but it's one of the best I have ever heard.

"The Bryden 2-step (for amphibians) (part I)" opens atmospherically, but after about 2 minutes launches in to a frantic theme played by Phil Miller on his guitar. The song goes through many compositional ideas featuring complex unison melodies, a bit of jazzy trombone and Dave Stewart's trademark fuzzed organ playing. An impressive opening number.

"The collapso" is one of my favourite instrumentals all time. Described by Mr. Stewart as "a Caribbean cacophony for limbo lovers", this one is full of twisted melodies, crazy time signatures and dizzying counterpoint. Everything is tied together by a rather catchy guitar melody that is repeated in various keys throughout the track. Selwyn Baptiste's steel drums are the icing of the cake.

That is however not the most mind-blowing performance this album has to offer. That title can be claimed by John Greaves' "Squarer for Maud". The song starts with a slow crescendo and what happens afterwards I shall not attempt to describe. My English vocabulary is not big enough for that.

Phil Miller's "Dreams wide awake" is perhaps the most "normal" tune on this LP. But that is not to say it isn't good. DS's organ solo is particularly very impressive.

"Binoculars", originally titled "A legend in his own lunchtime", is drummer Pip Pyle's work, and the only song here that features vocals. A very relaxed number with lyrics about telecommunications and boredom. Nice flute solo.

The album is wrapped up by "Phlâkatön", an 8-second phonetic drum solo and "The Bryden 2-step (for amphibians) (part II)", an another stunning instrumental. "The Bryden 2-step part 2" is started by some weird organ lines playd over a bass accompaniment that sounds like the main theme from "Jaws". Then we get to hear some great synthesizer soloing over a 9/8 backround, a couple of themes from the first part and finally a fading version of the atmospheric beginning of the album.

I recommend "Of queues and cures" to every fan of progressive music. A stunning set of well crafted compositions brought to life with wonderful musicianship. In one word ? a masterpiece. Five stars, without hesistation.

St.Cleve Chronicle | 5/5 |

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