(All Album Reviews by Vinylroolz)
The second album from these ultimate Canterburians is even more of a joy than the first one! The Rotter's Club displays a band that has matured as a unit. The songs here each stand on their own, but, similar to their 1st album, segue effortlessly from one to another. The production/mixing is much better too, with much more definition between instruments.
Again, the band displays a dizzying mix of the Canterbury sound: rock, pop, psychedelia and jazz. The end result is a true fusion of styles and a glorious earful of pure prog enjoyment. This is not for the faint of heart, nor for those too entrenched in one genre or another. Some of this album would fit neatly into a "modern jazz" category. Then suddenly we're immersed in a humorous pop ditty sung by Richard Sinclair. I said it was dizzying, yet it all goes together so smoothly.
The first half of this album features compositions primarily penned by drummer Pip Pyle or guitarist Phil Miller, with a couple of noteworthy contributions from bassist/vocalist Richard Sinclair. Guest artist Jimmy Hastings (Caravan) provides flute on the perfectly beautiful "Didn't Matter Anyway". These songs all show the depth of musicianship in every style imaginable. Just incredible playing by all.
The second half is my favorite though, starting with the Phil Miller composition "Underdub". The flute and electric piano double the complex melody line, giving way to Stewart's solo. Fine jazz here! Then it's on to the 19 minute Dave Stewart masterpiece "Mumps". Stewart is a monster composer and arranger, and this epic is one of prog's hidden gems. Phil Miller supplies great guitar leads, alternating from squeaky-clean electric to dirty fuzz, and Richard Sinclair provides a busy bass guitar to drive it along. But it's Stewart's excellent electric piano work that really shines. The themes are non-stop, the jamming monstrous. The Northettes pop their lovely vocal heads in, then Stewart blows your head off with some trademark Canterbury fuzz-organ work. Then here comes Sinclair's smooth vocals intoning lyrics which exhibit dry British humor followed by a nice funky riff with Jimmy Hastings trading sax riffs with Millers guitar. And that's just part 2 of this 4-part tune!
The Rotter's Club is a must-have item for any self-respecting progster's library. This is what truly "progressive" music is all about.