Album review: HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT’S ADEQUATE – The Confidence Trick

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT’S ADEQUATE - The Confidence Trick

Bandcamp [Release date 29.07.22]

Here at GRTR! we are big fans of Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate, enjoying what the band use to describe themselves as genre defying music. They have a prog rock basis but then wander off down many musical roads including electronica, classical, alt rock and more.

Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate are Malcolm Galloway and Mark Gatland with Kathryn Thomas on flute. All three contributed to songwriting on the album. The album’s overall theme is one of cognitive errors, particularly overconfidence, and our repeated failure to learn from history.

One of the longest tracks on the album ‘Refuge’ is an instrumental inspired by Malcolm’s great-grandmother’s experiences of being hunted by the Nazis. As the band’s website sagely notes “the language that was used to dehumanise populations before the Second World War is still used to dehumanise people today. We keep saying never again, and we keep making the same mistakes.”

They seem to excel at these long instrumental pieces that get a story or theme over with the same effect as a vocal track. The music ebbs and flows, from uplifting piano and string sections, through to darker, bleaker passages, this piece of music is superb and one for headphones. ‘Ark’ of their last album is another fine example of the band’s epic historically based instrumentals.

‘Perky Pat’ and ‘World War Terminus’ are inspired by SF writer Philip K Dick novels. The electronica instrumental ‘Perky Pat’ refers to a doll with a glamorous but fictional lifestyle used to distract from reality, whilst ‘World War Terminus’ was another “war to end all wars”. The latter features sublime guitar chords and riffs – shades of Pink Floyd at times.

The title track is another that delves into Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree territory. The mid-section is particularly sublime on the listener’s ears. ‘Lava Lamprey’ is an odd one missing stop/start jazz beats and piano but it still fits well into the album’s overall style and feel. Heck, they even have a bit of electro pop on ‘All Empires Fall’ backing the main spoken word part of the song.

Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate are one of progressive music’s best bands you have most likely never heard. Rectify that if that is the case as ‘The Confidence Trick’ is their finest musical offering to date. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie





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