Hats off Gentlemen It's Adequate — Nostalgia for Infinity
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2021-04-05
With each new album, this band continues to improve the quality of their work. While I’ve enjoyed most of the previous albums I’ve heard, Nostalgia for Infinity is the first I can recommend without any caveats. Carrying on the mode of previous Hats Off albums, it’s a substantial concept piece dealing with science-fictional themes, and balances vocal and instrumental music roughly half-and-half. At the core, there’s more than a little Pink Floyd, but Hats Off includes much more variety in sounds than Pink Floyd, with ventures into punkish energy, uptempo synth-rock, and flickers of metal guitar, along with some delicate passages featuring piano and flute. The band is a trio led by Malcolm Galloway (vocals, guitar, keyboards, programming), Mark Gatland (bass, Stick, guitar, keyboards), and Kathryn Thomas (flute, vocals). The drums are programmed, though done well enough that most listeners might not notice or care. Galloway is the chief composer, with one or more of the others sharing credit on most tracks. The album has a great flow to it, with more intense sections followed by ambient interludes, and the sound is a wonderful synthesis of modern and classic, human and technological (much like the theme of the lyrics). Galloway and crew have hit upon a version of progressive rock that sits well in today’s world and forges its own sound outside the prominent current streams where most artists in the genre can be found. The keyboard work particularly sets it apart from other bands, with less reliance on pseudo-classical romanticism or virtuosic flash and more on hypnotic arpeggios reminiscent of Philip Glass. Thomas’s flute provides effective touches when it appears, which is not often enough. Nostalgia for Infinity is a sure sign that Hats off Gentlemen It’s Adequate is a worthy band deserving of the attention of listeners everywhere.
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