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(60:34, Hats Off gentlemen It's Adequate)
TRACK LIST: 1. Coming Back 6:40 2. When I Was a Ship 6:02 3. Defiance 3:37 4. De Humani Corporis Fabrica 6:06 5. The Rose That Was Red in the Dark 5:56 6. Maze 5:34 7. Stand Up 3:59 8. I Miss the Stars 7:09 9. If You Think This World Is Bad... 3:31 10. Losing Myself 5:14 11. The Electric Ant 4:15 12. Lidice 7:21 LINEUP: Malcolm Galloway - vocals, guitars, keyboards, synths Mark Gatland - bass, Chapman stick, vocals with: Kathryn Thomas - flute, vocals
Prolusion. UK band HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE can celebrate their first decade as a band this year, at least if my information about their history is up to speed. And in that initial decade of existence, the band have released four studio albums. "Out of Mind" is the most recent of these, and appeared towards the end of 2018.
Analysis. As far as progressive rock as a genre goes, Hats off Gentlemen... resides in the more accessible part of this universe. This is a band that creates material strong on moods and atmospheres, and where careful arrangements and inviting melodies are the norm. At least to some extent, one might place them inside a neo-progressive context somewhere. The more spirited material of the band will certainly find favor with many fans of early 90's neo-progressive rock, with firm guitars, steady rhythms and layered keyboards driving the songs forward and onward. The lead vocals, with something of a talk-like tinge to them at times, is also of a kind that isn't unusual for such ventures. But that is also but one aspect of this band. Where I find Hats Off Gentlemen... to truly shine is when the tempo and intensity is scaled down, the arrangements focus more distinctly on moods and atmospheres, and the overall material is of a more gentle and arguably inviting nature. Here the band move gracefully between the lighter toned landscapes of bands like Camel and the darker toned vistas of late 70's Pink Floyd, with gliding layered keyboards, gentler guitar details and calmer lead vocals leading the way into sceneries of a more tranquil and often melancholic beauty. Those who find musical painting of this particular nature to be alluring will find a lot to enjoy on this production. The compositions are both alluring and inviting, especially the more careful ventures present, and the general impression of this album is a solid one. Mix and production isn't at the level of the giants of this universe though, and the lead vocals are on the weak side whenever intensity and passion is called for. The songs themselves, while good, isn't yet at that level that will make them a mainstay in every progressive rock playlist for the next decade (although 'If You Think this World is Bad...' isn't all that far off). A good and accomplished production then, with moments of greatness.
Conclusion. Those who prefer their progressive rock to be accessible, inviting and made with a focus to create and explore moods and atmospheres should find this latest album by Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate to be right up their alley. With solid nods in the direction of late 70's Camel and Pink Floyd as well as some token winks towards early 90's neo-progressive rock, this is a band and an album that deserves to be given a spin by progressive rock fans with a particular fancy for those parts of the progressive rock universe.
Progmessor: March 26, 2019
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