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Hatfield And The North - The Rotters' Club CD (album) cover

THE ROTTERS' CLUB

Hatfield And The North

 

Canterbury Scene

4.18 | 368 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Tadpoles keep screaming in my ear: Hey there! Rotters' Club!"

Another classic Canterbury album, this one belongs to the more fusion-like records of the scene rather than to the more folky and pop of Caravan or the psychedelic trips of Gong. Hatfield & the North's debut was simply a flawless album, the vocals, the melodies, the solos, the flow, incredible.

The band's sophomore and final album, The Rotters' Club, which gave the title to a 70s-based British novel by Jonathan Coe (highly recommended to prog fans!), is a slightly less cohesive work with the appearances of more demanding parts and as a consequence a bit of experimentation, but still the band sounds stronger from the musicianship point of view.

Like their debut, The Rotters' Club is intended to be listened entirely, without detracting from a tune, since it all flows almost seamlessly. However, there's another difference between this album and their debut that is that the former does have a highlight (while the highlight of their debut was mainly the album per se) which is undoubtedly the 20 minute piece 'Mumps' which is like the perfect sum-up of the band's abilities and characteristics: noteworthy solos from the guitar, sax and keyboards, great melodies that reminds me of the majestic melodies from the symphonic bands, Pip Pyle and Richard Sinclair delivering plenty of grooves, some hypnotic moments full-filled with various female vocals and wind instruments, intricating moments as well as chilling jazzy ones, all in all making Hatfield & the North a must-listen band for Prog fans that like at least a bit of fusion/jazz.

I already stated this in my review of their debut, but I'll say it again, Hatfield & the North doesn't play a generic fusion style, that's already clear knowing that Dave Stewart is a keyboardist that has his own style so he has no need to copy Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock, also knowing that we've got plenty of vocals and even humour, that's something you don't get from Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever. Of course, I can just sum this up by saying that all these features make up the "Canterbury Sound" which isn't exactly the same as Jazz Fusion, though not entirely true since like I already said at the beginning, Gong and Caravan are not really like this, and maybe others neither.

I'll finalise by saying this, if you consider yourself a Prog fan and haven't checked any Canterbury album, do me a favour and purchase this album, I'm sure that at least the first track, 'Share It', will become addictive to you.

5 stars: another masterpiece from the almost always fantastic and unique Canterbury Scene.

The Quiet One | 5/5 |

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