Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate is probably the finest band name that I have heard in years. These talented London prog rockers have a new album out, it is called ‘Out Of Mind’ on Glass Castle Records. and it is rather splendid. This band are steeped in the genealogy of the finest Prog Rock to emanate from the fair shores of Blighty. If you like Genesis, Marillion, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and maybe even Uriah Heep you will love Hat’s Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate. But they are more than just prog, I can hear Brian Eno here and maybe a little Bowie inflection in the vocals. ‘Out Of Mind’ is for me a superb album to listen to on headphones in a darkened room surrounded by joss sticks and smoking a fat one. The sound is that of a huge band, but from a recording perspective this is the sound of two (sometimes three) people; Malcolm Galloway Vocalist, guitarist and keyboards, Mark Gatland, Bass, more keyboards , backing vox. They are occasionally aided and abetted by Kathryn Thomas on flute and more vocals. The orchestration and production throughout is truly stunning. Just to prove they have endless talent the production was magnificently handled by Galloway and Gatland.
The album has an English cinematic feel streaked with science fiction overtones. There is a beautiful melancholy feel throughout and it is certainly and album I will return to again and again. Just getting this review together has seen me play it end to end six times. My favourite tune from the record at the moment is “The Rose That Was Red In The Dark” although that may well change on the next spin. Album closer “Lidice” has a hypnotic Mike Oldfield circa ‘Tubular Bells’ feel in the music and it is overlayed with a gorgeous, fragile and emotional vocal from Malcolm Galloway. Lidice was a small mining village in Czechoslovakia, which was razed to the ground by the Nazis during World War 2. They deliberately killed 88 children and 252 adults, in reprisal for the assassination by resistance fighters of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust. Listen to this song and try not to become even a tad emotional, I dare you.
Philip K Dick is noted as the inspiration for two songs in this collection; “Coming Back (Time Out Of Joint)” from his novel ‘Time Out Of Joint’ and “The Electric Ant” another of my favourite tunes on this LP which is a kind of proggy electronica take on drum and bass, it was inspired by a Philip K Dick short story. Literary references abound with a story from Ann Leckie’s Ancilliary series proving the background and subject for “When I Was A Ship”. Even ancient anatomy texts are prominent with “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” drawn from the Vesalius book of the same name which was published in 1543. Do you need to be a Prog fan to like this album? No of course you don’t, all you need is to be a lover of wonderfully put together meaningful rock music. I urge you to give your lugholes a treat and take a listen to ‘Out Of Mind’ now!
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