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

THE ROTTERS' CLUB

Hatfield And The North

 

Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 665 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Canterbury crosses London, and heads up the A1.

I must admit to having trodden rather warily when it came to investigating the music of Hatfield and the North, my concern being that their brand of Canterbury music would be more Soft Machine than Camel/Caravan. Those fears were, I'm glad to say, largely unfounded. In many ways, "The rotters club" sounds like a lost Caravan album, especially through the distinctive vocals of Richard Sinclair. That said, this album leans more towards the "Waterloo Lily" side of Caravan than their more rock influenced albums.

While the tracks range from the absurdly brief ("Chaos at the Greasy Spoon") to the progtastically long ("Mumps"), this is very much an album to be heard as a whole. The songs generally merge together, although bizarrely the aforementioned "Mumps" fades mid track, then restarts as a different piece of music. Barbara Gaskin, wife and long term professional partner of Dave Stewart, adds some effective vocals to this track, along the lines of Annie Haslam's work on Renaissance's "Prologue" album.

In stark contrast to Stewart's work with Egg, there's a real diversity to the lead instruments used here, and thus to the sounds and colours of the album. With so many virtuoso performers in the line up, the lead instrument changes with sometimes indecent frequency.

Those who appreciate the Canterbury sound and style will find much to their liking here. While for me, for me the music sometimes drifts too far into Jazz territory, the album as a whole is well constructed, and highly enjoyable. Caravan fans in particular will find this to be a home from home.

Interestingly, although H&TN are considered to be a Canterbury act, their name comes from the opposite side of London, being the taken from a sign on the A1(M) motorway.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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