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(69:45; Glass Castle Recordings)
TRACK LIST: 1. Century Rain 9:17 2. Twin Earth 5:59 3. Ark 11:47 4. Nanobotoma 5:26 5. Chasing Neon 5:34 6. Glitterband 5:32 7. Conjoiners 4:31 8. Scorpio 1:19 9. Inhibitors 3:25 10. Nostalgia for Infinity 6:59 11. Voyager 5:50 12. Sixth Extinction 4:06 LINEUP: Malcolm Galloway - vocals, guitars, keyboards, programming Mark Gatland - bass, guitars, keyboards, Chapman Stick with: Kathryn Thomas - flute, vocals
Prolusion. UK band HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE first appeared back in 2009, with composer and musician Malcolm Galloway as the main creator of the band. From 2012 and onward the band has released a steady stream of studio albums. "Nostalgia for Infinity" is their fifth studio album so far, and was released through the band's own label Glass Castle Recordings at the start of 2020.
Analysis. While the music of Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate may well be difficult to pigeonhole into any of the defined genre boxes so many critics and fans enjoy to use, what is easy to state is that this is a band that resides safely inside the more accessible parts of the progressive rock universe. They are fond of their melodies and harmonies, and do not like to flaunt the use of dominant dissonant effects or quirky instrument and scale maneuvers of the kind that sound like they have been written by a composer with ADHD and a strong caffeine kick. Which doesn't mean such features may not be present, but if they are they have been safely tucked away as elements of a more subservient nature. The music is more focused on being elegant and captivating, obviously with tempo changes and arrangements featuring multiple layers of sounds. Sophisticated, but not overly challenging to listen to. As far as this most recent album is concerned, I would say that it is by and large separated into three types of compositions. You have the more neo-progressive oriented creations, with layered keyboards and atmospheric laden guitar solo and keyboard solo runs as dominant features, often with an elegant piano motif supporting throughout. Then we have the more straightforward art pop tunes, often with a tight and even beefy guitar sound supporting dominant lead vocals and driving bass and rhythms. At last there are songs present that have more of an electronic rock vibe and futuristic feel to them, often with cosmic tendencies and usually with a strong and energetic drive to them as well. On one of the album highlights, 'Chasing Neon', Galloway and his men aren't that many lightyears away from a band like Ozric Tentacles in overall sound. Not all the songs manage to find their way into my heart and soul though, and for my sake I'm also in the camp that finds the lead vocals to often be a tad underwhelming. There are songs here where the vocal style blends well with the song and is given a placement in the mix that slots in really well, cue songs like the splendid 'Twin Earth' and title track 'Nostalgia for Infinity', but on other songs the vocals as far as my taste in music is concerned become somewhat detrimental.
Conclusion. Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate as of 2020 still strikes me as a band that will be of interest to those who tend to enjoy the more accessible aspects of progressive rock. While I can't really pidgenhole the band into any one tradition as such, I'd say that those who enjoy bands such as later day Pendragon as well as some of those bands that focus more on cosmic and futuristic sounds probably should enjoy this album quite a bit. With a slight reservation for the lead vocals, as I suspect that element will be somewhat divisive also for other listeners.
Progmessor: July 2020
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