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


Hatfield And The North


Canterbury Scene

4.20 | 506 ratings

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4 stars Essential - Recommended!

I rarely do "impulse" reviews, being the type that likes to study, analyse and break apart all music into its constituent components, and then rebuild it in an analytical and comparative way. However I bought this album today, and have listened to it just the once - which was enough to make me want to extol its virtues!

While a few comparisons can't really be helped, this turns out to be an album that I simply don't want to analyse, because I have listened and enjoyed the near-perfection in it's aural beauty. It is music and lyrics full of imagery, gorgeous, abstract expression, subtle details and washes of velvety sound - kind of like listening to a painting by Monet.

Comparisons may be quickly and easily drawn to Gong, Van der Graaf Generator, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Focus - particularly Jan Akkerman's solo material, and plenty of others, including Camel... and yet it's more typically Canterburian in the soft-focus jazz patina that is deliberately but gently disrupted by sudden but fleeting darker moods. In other words, not simply a "nice" album; rather one with the kinds of satisfying lights and shades that keep it interesting.

An album like "The Rotter's Club" could be described on a track-by-track basis, but I feel that would be like describing a good book on a chapter-by-chapter basis. For this is the aural equivalent of a damn good read - and one to revisit. Not a masterpiece, as there is nothing particularly ground-breaking, not completely spell-binding - but nonetheless captivating in its own gentle way, and absolutely exquisite music, with a quality that is almost tangible.

I would say that this is an essential for fans of the jazzier realms of prog, those who like Gong, and anyone who simply fancies having a good prog album to chill out to instead of one that ties your neural network into knots. This is not an album to impress your friends with your eclectic tastes, or drive you into a wild frenzy - but utterly perfect in its own right, and an excellent addition to any collection of prog.

Highly Recommended!

Certif1ed | 4/5 |


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