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


Hatfield And The North


Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 569 ratings

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3 stars There is a word the British use (actually, overuse...) that truly describes this album: lovely. Lovely in its execution, lovely to listen to. Using a variety of Canterbury-style arrangements and instrumentation, "The Rotter's Club" runs the gamut from 3-minute masterpieces to 7-minute (largely successful) experiments. "Share It" opens the album with a lovely (...) 3-minute composition which, although wordy (in classic Sinclair style), is what all 3-minute songs should be: beautifully constructed, nicely lyrical, and a pleasure to listen to. "Lounging There Trying" is an equally wonderful 3-minute, jazz-influenced instrumental. The "Big John Wayne/Chaos/Yes No Interlude" mini-suite is largely a jazz- rock jam, with some excellently Frippish guitarwork from Miller, complemented by Pyle's always excellent playing. "Didn't Matter Anyway," a pretty composition, is followed by another excellent jazz-rock instrumental, "Underdub." The lengthy "Mumps," although less successful than the rest of the album, includes some particularly nice sections. The rest of the compositions range from good to excellent.

Given that three of Hatfield's founding members (guitarist Phil Miller, drummer Pip Pyle, keyboardist Dave Stewart) went on to form National Health a few years later, it would be tempting to call this "National Health, Part 1." However, Hatfield is a "textbook" example of the Canterbury school, while National Health leans more heavily toward the members' prog-rock and experimental influences (though not without some Canterbury-like jazz touches). However, this is simply a testament to just how diverse Miller, Pyle and Stewart could be.

As noted, a truly lovely album that will remain on rotation in my CD player for a bit.

maani | 3/5 |


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