Hatfield and the North's second album appeared a year after their debut. The Rotters' Club offers more of their jazzy inventions and supports a fine cast of guests, including Virgin labelmates Lindsay Cooper and Tim Hodgkinson from Henry Cow. Again, Dave Stewart's keyboards are central, particularly his use of the electric piano and organ. Phil Miller offers his highly-sustained guitar, especially on the excellent "The Yes No Interlude." One of the band's finer elements is the incredible rhythm section of Pip Pyle and Richard Sinclair; they handled the ever-changing meters with absolute precision. "Fitter Stoke Has a Bath" drifts into one of Sinclair's finest compositions, the cheerfully somber "Didn't Matter Anyway." "Underdub," a jazzy number from Miller, opens the second side; but it's Stewart's multi-section "Mumps" that dominates. The Northettes open the track with "Your Majesty Is Like a Cream Donut (Quiet)," but Miller's guitar leads the larger section, "Lumps." The track is protean: certainly jazz-like in structure, but definitely not jazz or fusion. In typical Canterbury style, Hatfield succeed in harnessing an incredible amount of talent without ever succumbing to flash. While their music may never get you up and kicking your heels, it more than likely will sit you down for a good, long listen. The album ventured into the UK charts, reaching No. 43. By early summer, Sinclair had had enough of touring and the band broke up. Miller would eventually regroup the band as National Health, with Pyle joining in 1977; while Sinclair went on to Camel the same year. A posthumous compilation, Afters, appeared in 1979, solving the puzzle of their choice of band name.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"