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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

4.30 | 490 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

frippism
5 stars Of all the super-groups, Hatfield and the North is probably the only one that isn't at all disappointing at all. In fact they are not only not disappointing, but actually rather good... Or really good... Or wonderful. The Canterbury super group featuring some rather incredible musicians (Dave Stewart of Egg and Khan-Keyboards, Phil Miller of Matching Mole- guitar, Pip Pyle of Gong- Drums... RIP Pip, and Caravan's Richard Sinclair on bass and vocals), and manage to create a mix of what I would try (rather badly) to describe as Caravan's humor and melody with Jazz/Fusion touches and an almost King Crimson like experimentalist side (Yeah that made sense...).

Hatfield's first album is a rather magical affair. All the songs are more or less stuck to each other and unless you work hard at checking the name of each song with every listen you probably know each song as "that part in the album". But the album kicks off with the nice and short "Stubbs Effect" and goes directly into this jazzy little jam ("Going Up To People And Tinkling... yay!). This evolves into "Calyx", with Canterbury celebrity superstar Robert Wyatt. Wyatt provides an excellent vocal melody, which evolves (I'm going to use the word "evolves" a lot in this review) into the first epic track: "Son there's no place like Homerton". The affair is a pretty and quirky... affair, with those who are called "The Northettes" singing backup vocals (to a great effect). The song develops to a few directions with a bunch of time changes and that fun stuff, and eventually (here it comes...) evolves into probably the most melodic song. Ever. Aigrette shows off Phil Miller's talent of writing unbelievably melodic short songs (also exemplified in the next album). Aigrette is absolutely delightful. This thing oozes out this melody to which Richard Sinclair sings beautifully. Probably my favorite short track from the album. I can go on and on about all the short songs, but my laziness is becoming stronger with each second. Worth to mention from the other shorts is "Fol De Rol" with its cool telephone gimmick (You'll understand when you'll listen to the album). The second epic: "Shaving is Boring" is another great song and pretty experimental. The band... experiments with a lot of different sounds, and there's really awesome part when everything just stops and you hear someone running up and down a hallway opening doors and each of them has a different song in them until he finds the one door that leads to the next riff... That's just awesome. The album... evolves into another few instrumentals, and before you know it, you're done!

This isn't exactly easy listening, though. The lack of actual "songs" makes the album a bit hard to digest in the first couple of listens. While it has the pleasant and light hearted Caravan-ish sound, it certainly is much more progressive than most Canterbury albums. Definite buy for anyone who enjoys progressive music, and very much for Canterbury fans. Awesome little masterpiece!

frippism | 5/5 |

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