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


Hatfield And The North


Canterbury Scene

4.20 | 505 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Oh yes, thank you, thank you very much. This will do quite nicely. Quite nicely indeed.

Maybe it is because of the cover art, but there is a lot more instrumental to this album than I anticipated. But such surprises and ironies are all part of the Canterbury scene, isn't it? There is very little here that stands out to me; after listening, I don't remember much of it in particular. At the same time, I also recognize almost everything once I hear it. In most situations that would be seen as a detraction, but in this case there is not any aspect of this album I do not like. The final result is somewhat homogenized, yet all of it is absolutely enjoyable. The musicianship is excellent. I particularly like Dave Stewart's keyboards, in terms of his solos, his supporting parts, and especially the way he interacts with the other musicians, notably Phil Miller on the guitar. Completing the band is Pip Pyle, a first-rate drummer, and the inimitable Richard Sinclair on bass and vocals. Several guest stars are also featured, including Jimmy Hastings on flute and sax, and "the very wonderful Northettes," who provide backup vocals. Actually, sometimes those vocals take over the music. The lyrics are almost shear nonsense, and with song titles like (Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology on the Jaw, and Fitter Stroke has a Bath, one would think that this was a joke band hitting only on the novelty of their silliness. This is not the case. Music this good, with its many twists and turns, has to be taken seriously in order to play and in order to fully appreciate. But don't over-intellectualize it. The band needs to have a better sense of what is going on than you the listener do. Just get on for the ride. Many proggers will be most interested in the 20-odd minute long multi-part epic, Mumps. There was a recent forum discussion about so many of us being size queens. For me, that song does not do anything else the rest of the album does. Rather, it just puts it all into a longer sequence. Sinclair sings some odd and even silly lyrics, with very nice melodies by the way, the band kicks in the jams, and the Northettes ooh and aah. The whole thing can get a little scattered, and some of the transitions are a tad rough. No matter. I like it. A lot. The edition I have (which may perhaps be the standard one now) includes five additional tracks which include a couple of alternate takes, which I really have no need for, plus three previously unreleased tracks. I can understand why they did not make it on the original release. They are not bad, but they either do not fit in very well with the rest of the album (such as when they get into a very King Crimsonish mode or that of Soft Machine), or they are simply more of the same. However, I have no complaints with those.

The Rotter's Club by Hatfield and the North is not only first-rate Canterbury, it is excellent mid-70s Prog. A true classic.

Progosopher | 5/5 |


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