Hatfield and the North

Hatfield and the North

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One of the Canterbury scene's most revered bands, Hatfield and the North made up for the brevity of their career with some fascinating music. Always adventurous, the quartet had the keen sense to realize that only the most hardened jazz fans respond to numerous key changes and exceedingly complex time signatures, and thus enlivened their live set with the odd gnome smashing, suggestive lyrics, and jokey song titles. It worked a charm, with the band quickly amassing a large, loyal following at home in Britain and across the continent. On their eponymous debut, Hatfield stunningly succeeded in translating both their sense of fun and their musical brilliance onto disc. After a bit of light humor, the band slide into "Going Up to People and Tinkling," which glides gloriously across the keys and rhythm shifts. Both "Calyx" and "Aigrette" experiment with vocals as an instrument, while the exuberant "Rifferama" is a master class on the use of riffs. However, it's the expansive "Son of 'There's No Place like Homerton'" that forms the album's centerpiece, a propulsive, keyboard driven piece that still awaits a modern dance troop's attention.

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