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


National Health


Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 436 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The band's second release is an absolute stunner! Reduced to a quartet, the lineup is nearly identical to Hatfield but for bassist/vocalist John Greaves (ex-Henry Cow), filling the Richard Sinclair role (he even sounds a bit like him on "Binoculars").

Musically, this is a whole other animal from Hatfield, even if it's clearly built on the same foundation. I find it amusing that Stewart left due to complaints that the music had come too close to "jazz fusion", as this is by far the most orchestrated National Health album, with brass, woodwinds and cellos imparting dense symphonic textures to pretty much all the tracks.

This is some of the band's most intricate music, the changes on Stewart's "The Collapso" and Greaves' "Squarer for Maud" bound to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! The closest the album gets to a ballad is Pip Pyle's lengthy "Binoculars", a rather sarcastic song about his children's obsession with television, which features lots of flute and electric piano solos. The fuzz organ solo on "Dreams Wide Awake" is bound to turn a few heads, but I think the one in "The Bryden 2-step (for amphibians)" is rather more well-integrated. In fact, that is probably one of my favourite NH tracks ever.

For me, this is the apex, the pinnacle of all things Canterbury. There's not a wasted moment on the entire disc, and the guys were really at the top of their game here. Well done!

Progbear | 5/5 |


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