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National Health - D.S. al Coda CD (album) cover


National Health


Canterbury Scene

3.43 | 107 ratings

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2 stars Unfortunately...

Another complete change of sound. Dave Stewart left the band after Of Queus and Cures and the tour, and Alan Gowan took up the offer to replace him. That version toured the US in 1979, and Europe in 1980. However, Alan Gowan died of leukaemia in 1981. So, Dave Stewart decided to take the band back to the recording studio for one last album, this time an album of Alan Gowan's music, hence the title (D.S. al Coda). Unfortunately, the music is just not up to par. There is a commercial-jazz sheen to the compositions here, and this now ventures into the kind of forgettable jazz fusion that neither celebrates jazz nor rock (nor original fusion). Furthermore, this was recorded in 1982, and the production values here now reflect the 80s sound. While the other two National Health albums were exciting, innovative and musical, if a bit cold, this album just sounds cold. So, not the most fitting tribute to the late Alan Gowan, although I am not fully sure how much of the issue is a result of the band's interpretation, the production values, or Gowan's compositions themselves. But this is not something that draws multiple listens from me, and there is much better jazz fusion out there. Saying this, I am sure there are some people who will like this music, but my guess is it will be a very small pool. I give this album 5.1 out of 10, which translates to (high) 2 PA stars. Really, only for true fans and collectors.

Walkscore | 2/5 |


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