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


National Health


Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 427 ratings

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5 stars Despite some slight personnel changes (Greaves for Murray on bass, and the vanishing of the heavenly Amanda "Northette" Parson), there is such a continuity from "National Health" to "Of Queues and Cures" that they could almost have been released as a double. This review (and the 5 enthusiastic stars that go with it) is therefore meant for both works. So many nice (and true) things have been said here about NH's first two albums that all I can do is add my little voice to the choir of praise. Yes, this music is incredibly brilliant and complex, so full of surprises and time and tone changes, so brimming with ideas at every turn of a bar, that you can never get tired of listening to it. Yes, those guys are so good that they don't need to show off with never-ending solos, the way some jazz musicians do. And yes, this music is funny and joyful (to call it "cold" is deeply absurd) to the point that you could almost call it "feelgood music", to echo the concept of the "feelgood movie". To all intents and purposes, National Health is essentially Hatfield and the North under another name, and without Sinclair's songs (the same way Soft Machine got rid of Wyatt's songwriting and singing in 1972, although with far less interesting results). What you have here is the quintessence of Canterbury sound. Whatever began at the Simon Langton school in 1963 with the Wilde Flowers (although of course none of NH members were there at that time) reached its summit in 1978, at a time when prog was almost beaten senseless by the punks, with those two eternal albums.
Kaelka | 5/5 |


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