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HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate picture
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate biography
Founded in London, UK in 2009

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Malcolm Galloway together with Mark Gatland (bass). Both in the studio as well as on stage he has a fairly regular cast of fellow musicians that helps out, depending on what's needed for the occasion, consisting of Kathryn Thomas (flute), Rudy Burrell (drums), Ibon Bilaboa (guitars) and Sam Brown (vocals, guitars). So far two full length albums and three EPs have been released by this project, all on Galloway's own label Glass Castle Records.

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HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE discography


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HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.07 | 8 ratings
Invisible
2012
3.13 | 12 ratings
When The Kill Code Fails
2015
3.18 | 15 ratings
Broken but Still Standing
2017
3.57 | 23 ratings
Out of Mind
2018
3.56 | 22 ratings
Nostalgia for Infinity
2020
4.03 | 41 ratings
The Confidence Trick
2022
4.05 | 10 ratings
The Light of Ancient Mistakes
2023

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 6 ratings
Frail Hurricane
2012
3.67 | 3 ratings
Wait For The Storm
2012
3.14 | 7 ratings
Head in a Jar
2014
3.33 | 6 ratings
Solace
2015
3.67 | 3 ratings
Stand Up / When I Was A Ship
2018
3.82 | 9 ratings
Ark
2019
3.09 | 3 ratings
Feeling Great
2020
4.50 | 2 ratings
Burn the World
2023
4.00 | 2 ratings
imtiredandeverythinghurts
2023

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Light of Ancient Mistakes by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.05 | 10 ratings

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The Light of Ancient Mistakes
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars HOGIA are back with their seventh album, with many of the songs this time inspired by books. The duo of Malcolm Galloway (vocals, lead guitar, keyboards, synths, programming, percussion, drums) and Mark Gatland (bass guitar, slide guitars, keyboards, synths, Chapman Stick, backing vocals, percussion, drums) have again been joined by flautist Kathryn Thomas for three tracks. I have heard quite a lot of Malcolm's material over the years, both with his more classical head on and with HOGIA, and what has taken me with this album is not only the sheer diversity of material on offer but the depth, as this an incredibly complex album which still refuses to sit solely within what many people consider to be prog, with far more indie sounds and styles. The full version, which includes radio cuts of some numbers, is more than 80 minutes in length, containing 19 songs, but never feels over long or dragging as one is brought deeply into their world.

The instrumental "Avrana Kern Is Made Of Ants" just belts along and is quite at odds with much of the rest of the album, which goes between space rock and indie, experimental prog and psychedelia, always ensuring the listener needs to pay close attention to what is going on. The centrepiece of the album is 'Walking To Aldebaran', inspired by the science fiction novella of the same name by Adrian Tchaikovsky, moving from prog metal (I love the flute during the introduction where Kathryn almost loses control) to more theatrical elements. Malcolm's vocal style really works well with this over-the-top styling, as he brings something of a David Byrne approach to it. The song is sung from the perspective of an astronaut losing his sanity as he wanders an alien labyrinth, gradually being transformed into a monster, and there is a darkness and menace here, with the strange experimental piano providing a harshness which fits well. One of my favourite science fiction writers growing up was Philip K Dick, and "The Man Who Japed" has its title taken from the novel of the same name, but not every book is science fiction, although that is a common thread.

There are plenty of instrumentals, all working with strong direction which can change with no notice whatsoever as Malcolm and Mark are never keen to rest for too long. The result is a modern progressive album which never feels regressive but is always moving forward in ways which can be quite unexpected yet always melodic and fascinating. This will not be for those who want their music of today to sound as if it were released 50 years ago, but if you enjoy a more modern approach then this is one of HOGIA's most interesting and complete albums yet.

 The Light of Ancient Mistakes by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.05 | 10 ratings

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The Light of Ancient Mistakes
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars Maybe WE Could Do Better

We'll See

In "The Light of Ancient Mistakes" -UK trio HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE's seventh album release- we are drawn into a foreboding, disturbing, unsettling world in which we begin to realize we have only ourselves to blame.

But plenty of villains and rascals and demons to go around.

All set to impeccably engineered, mostly-restrained, Floyd-inspired, brooding music with lyrics telling tales of quiet horror and devastation. Malcolm Galloway- lyricist, composer, multi-instrumentalist- draws from a wide-ranging booklist which inspires him to reflect on our current world conditions.

And he doesn't much care for what he sees- so much we could do to improve ourselves and our world, our relationships, our politics, our sense of connectedness- and we don't do those things.

Why?

Consider this album HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE's response- not an 'answer' because there may be none or at least none most of us wish to acknowledge (cowardice? let someone else take action? hopelessness?)- to the WHY of it all.

Homophobia/AI/Environmental Ruin/Desperation/Alienation

In poetic and musical form, HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE addresses demagogues we by our inert responses empower, burning of the world, funding the eight hundred years of military madness which may well light the skies with our own demise- and we are confronted time and again whether in music or in lyrical reveries with our own complicity.

It's a Tough Album

Yet it's a powerful- and perhaps overlong- experience, putting on the headphones and hearing "The Light of Ancient. Mistakes". Pondering whether WE can (and will) do better than we have been.

Musically I do frequently hear the mournful and brooding sounds and the Strat-flavored textures of Pink Floyd, but also, notably in my favorite track, "Walking to Aldebaran", some edgy, heavier progressive metal-style passages with complex riffs. Lots of keyboards, with layers of synths and strings and held, foreboding bass lines, grooving and active bass lines, and some tasty drumming.

The vocals are often lamenting and mournful, considering the subject matter mentioned, with occasional use of octaves and harmony to add heft and texture.

Special mention also must be made for "imtiredandeverythinghurts", a deeply self-revelatory song that has personally challenged me to reconsider using the ubiquitous (and quite awkward, it turns out) question, "How are you?" or "How's it going?"

When one is suffering, what is the proper response? Is the question sincere...or is it similar to the meaningless, "What's up?" with which person greets person.

Not a Literary Thesis

I'm often tempted, when faced with an immensity of questions and literary references and Big Ideas, to begin to unpack these. In "The Light of Ancient Mistakes" we find all these and more, as well as impeccably engineered and produced musical greatness.

But forget it. Malcolm has provided a lot of information- with some wonderful illustrations- about the tracks on this album, and I encourage you to take time to read, and to think about these things.

My Conclusions

Quite a heavy and passionate offering from HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE, brimming with excellent music and thought-provoking lyrics. I want MORE like "Walking to Aldebaran", as this sounds like a promising departure for the band. And maybe the album. is too long overall- but that's so subjective on my part.

Can we humans do better? Will we?

My rating is nine dystopian solar systems out of ten.

 The Confidence Trick by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 41 ratings

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The Confidence Trick
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by Thierry

4 stars I like this band hailing from London. I like their sense of humour and their music. Despite their funny name, they can display a rich melodic prog. This time, the album is a concept one, it's about the perils of overconfidence, excessive certainty leading to the same old errors, including war! The band evokes plagues such as the Holocaust and Covid ('Cygnus'). And even quotes Philip K. Dick ('Perky Pat' and 'World War Terminus' which echoes 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'). 'We keep saying never again, and we keep making the same mistakes ...'. Yes, this album is dealing with the repeated failure to learn from history. Proves that history repeats itself. At least we know the same reasons engender the same consequences. One of the longest track ('Refuge') is an instrumental inspired by the story of a Jewish woman (a great-grand-mother of one of the musician) with Lithuanian origins and living in Paris who is hunt by the Nazis and finally protected by brave and ordinary people (we call them les 'Justes' in France) in the Pyrenees mountains. The combo underlines the language used dehumanises populations at that time and affirms it is still used today. This is the sixth album already by this dynamic duo, Malcolm Galloway and Mark Gatland. They invited Kathryn Thomas for flute parts and backing vocals. And both designed the (beautiful) cover. Vintage (especially Pink Floyd, Kayak, Camel) and modern prog hints come to the mind. This formula of a duo may also remind you of Tears for Fears or Silver Hunter. In a nutshell, they deliver more than of one hour of rich music and meaningful lyrics.

 The Confidence Trick by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 41 ratings

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The Confidence Trick
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars The Name!

Self-Deprecation

Anything But!

Regarding the name: HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE evokes mind-pictures of the subtle English habit of self- mockery, the gift of self-deprecation that characterizes one who is paradoxically humbly self-assured enough to be modest about what is "Anything But" simply adequate.

"The Confidence Trick" is much more than "adequate". Rather it is also evocative: it evokes ideas and images from earliest times of hubris and narcissism, until the most recent, timely moments in which we now find ourselves.

Set To Understated Musical Pieces

For these thirteen tracks, threaded with instrumental reveries, but mostly working within artfully expressed and poetic lyrics, convey the dangers and difficulties inherent in maintaining one's bearings amidst great odds of pressure and persuasion.

The music, nor the lyrics, are ever heavy-handed. Rather, subtle, suggesting, waiting gently for the rage and ferocity to be teased out, the disgust and revilement of betrayal by the overlords given the task of caring and protecting those most vulnerable...

...and simply too important and too confident to do those caring, protecting things.

Tastes of Symphony, Jazz, Metal, Rock

The music, in all its variety, is quietly, never flashily, sophisticated, melodic, expressive, and germane to the over-riding theme- "The Confidence Trick" in which the narcissist and the beguiled enter into solemn agreement that the status quo of exploitation and murder shall be oh-so-properly and oh-so-mannerly maintained.

Refuge

For me, the actual, literal story of Malcolm's great-grandmother Broni Krom set to music in this track, shines the clearest and most poignant light upon the intent of this album. She survived many "toils and snares" because of her faith and came through threats of death and also great hardship, with courage, optimism, and hope.

The best, and the worst, of human behaviors are shown in this story of surviving and thriving in and through the "Confidence Trick" as it then was slithering through the zeitgeist, revealing that "all empires fall", regardless of how mighty and impregnable they may appear.

Great-grandmother Broni THRIVED and SURVIVED, and she was given aid and comfort by other bright souls, in the face of hatred, prejudice, and murder.

COVID, SMO, Elon Musk Escaping Earth

How many people have died- been murdered- by over-confident/immoral/incompetent people doing or refusing to do simple, straight-forward, scientifically sound things- providing masks. Admitting one is ill-informed. Sharing scientific evidence even with 'enemies'. Working for the greater good. Refusing 'sanctions' that mostly destroy the vulnerable, the poor, and the humble of the earth. Contributing money for heath-care rather than inter-planetary travel so Mars can be colonized...

For Me

The album is thought-provoking, stirring, lovely, troublesome, maddening, literate, suggesting, provoking. It seems to me to be a collection of thoughts and sounds designed to push humans into action based on caring rather than on cashing-in or lording-over.

My rating

4.0 stars, "Excellent addition to any progressive rock music collection".

 The Confidence Trick by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 41 ratings

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The Confidence Trick
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE releases their 6th album, so far I'm good! A creative musical vehicle with Malcolm Galloway former Doctor suffering from an illness and Mark Gatland helped by Kathryn Thomas his wife on the flute. HOGIA bears various influences on progressive, classic, electronic and metallic rock from which reminiscences come from PINK FLOYD, MARILLION and contemporary cinematic groups in fashion today. Texts on human errors and their exacerbated confidences painted in parables and 5 instrumentals for uncompromising rock art.

'Silence Is a Statement' launches the soundtrack on a melodic tune with synthesized guitars, crystalline voice and metronomic Mark drums, a little OCEANSIZE for the tune. 'Back Where I Started' Kathryn's flute and Malcolm's rocky voice on a time journey that goes wrong, the fluid and scintillating melody coming to pass... the pill of our incapacity. 'End of the Line' with delicate progressive intro and Malcolm that reminds me of Steve MARILLION's daydreams; atmospheric title where the keyboards and guitars are joined again by this melancholy flute, moment when the futile meets musical hypnosis with the hopeless guitar solo. Heady 'Perky Pat'! A reverberating, hypnotic, tortured electronic instrument on a story of oh so schizoid Dick prelude to our weberized life; progressive with the explosive majestic crescendo. 'World War Terminus' story of nuclear conflict and a rhythmic tune with a fast phrasing voice, dark tune then final crystalline keyboard. 'Pretending to Breathe' another melodic, atmospheric and doubtful instrumental, the ambient passage bringing back on a dark SCHULZE; the finale refers to the magic keyboards of the cheerful TANGERINE DREAM, bearers of hope, a long meditative interlude.

'Another Plague' with a floydian intro bringing a syncopated title where the keyboard is king, a title that is worth for its moving guitar flight, for the shoegaze rock melting pot full of hope against the future of our world, the solemn voice in addition. 'Refuge' for the symphonic piano interlude and its small flute in coulis; cinematic soundtrack mixing sweetness with avant-garde dramatic revival, featuring Malcolm's grandmother's escape from the camps, a beautiful tribute in itself; the instrumental aspect itself seems to give words of explanation; a great classico-progressive moment with a grandiloquent finale and a spectral Genesis solo, a magnificent unclassifiable title, you will have understood it. 'Interlude' on a melodic and symphonic neo-prog declination and an aerial solo. 'The Confidence Trick' eponymous title, bluesy guitar solo la Gilmour, synth la Wright, it goes up to denounce our way of life, but let's return to the majestic music launched as food here; apart from the metronomic drums the sound pulls on the PINK FLOYD; emphasis piece. 'Lava Lamprey' last jazzy instrumental, swirling with this sinuous synth, parable of a psychogenic dictatorial power, fresh anachronistic title. 'All Empires Fall' targeted verse-chorus title with a muted rapped voice, acerbic criticism of the dictators of this lower world, velvety guitar slide and a nod to GALAHAD. 'Cygnus' for the outro hymn to health personnel vis--vis the pandemic and solemn snub to incompetent governments.

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE has released a varied album of contemporary progressive alternative music, an astonishing album mixing electronic sounds with moving classical passages, pledge of spleen and other introspection. Be careful not to miss this special group which gives a philosophical message on the world in which we live.

 The Confidence Trick by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 41 ratings

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The Confidence Trick
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

4 stars 'We keep saying never again, and we keep making the same mistakes ...', this is dealing with the repeated failure to learn from history. Silence is a statement? Really? Sure, while considering the album's context, the lyrics, it gets a valid meaning. Encouragement is required for example, regarding the needed response to racist violence. Now we promptly are within the album entry. The aforementioned message on one hand, well then the composition as such, plus the instrumental implementation, everything is simply priceless. Leaves you wanting more. And indeed, 'The Confidence Trick' album marks the best song collection I've come across so far regarding this band. Just appealing in its entirety. Considering the booklet's fantastic layout respectively illustrations so much the more something for your ears and eyes. It is worth investing some time. A few songs are referencing Sci-Fi novels written by Philip K. Dick, others are inspired by personal experiences.

There is a really charming atmosphere prepared for the listener all over. Malcolm Galloway's voice appears to be unique, for one or two this probably needs getting used to. A trademark in any case, still can be filed under sorta hybrid of singing and speech. Superficially seen you may have the impression that he's pulling the strings right on his own, but as usual Mark Gatland is on his side, the longtime co-partner so to say. And that's nearly all about the current band line up. Oh, finally not to forget the nice flutes occasionally swirling around, provided by Kathryn Thomas, to mention End Of The Line for example. This has a great effect when trying to implement a somewhat silky mood. Electronics are fairly in place overall, even such a song like Perky Pat works well. Hence the drumming must arrive from the console solely. 10 years ago or so I would have complained, but today these things are refined a lot, finally acceptable to a layman like me.

'When it started, who won?' Major powers are becoming increasingly aggressive in trying to divide up the world, this nowadays is concentrated on the Ukraine. I would say World War Terminus is thematically drawing on current issues, especially concerning the threatening nuclear aspect. The extended symphonic excursion Refuge then comes with grandezza pure, context-wise following some adventurous experiences of Galloway's great-grandmother during Word War II. The album's title track shines with extraordinary playful guitars. And I'm always overwhelmed by the mellow jazz tinged Lava Lamprey flow, including some excellent bass lines. 'Armed with applause, but it wasn't enough ...', finally the short piano driven closing track Cygnus is generously dedicated to all those people from the health and social care devotedly fighting against the COVID pandemic. Occasionally reminding me of Tears For Fears and Talking Heads, and accompanied by those well thought out themes and messages, the band delivers more than one hour of entertaining music.

 The Confidence Trick by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 41 ratings

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The Confidence Trick
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by Squonk19

5 stars The Confidence Trick is the impressive and thought-provoking sixth album release from the eloquent and eclectic UK prog rock band, Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate.

Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate (HOGIA) are a London-based progressive rock band fronted by Malcolm Galloway (on vocals, lead guitar, keyboards/synthesisers and programming) with Mark Gatland (on bass guitar, additional guitars, keyboards/synthesisers, Chapman Stick and backing vocals) and Kathryn Thomas (on flute and backing vocals). Malcolm is a classical minimalist musician and composer and retired neuropathologist who has followed a diverse creative arts path after Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (a joint-related collagen disorder) curtailed his medical career. HOGIA has been his band project, releasing their debut album Invisible in 2012, and more recently their critically acclaimed fifth album, Nostalgia For Infinity in 2020, just before lockdown. Mark Gatland is a talented musician and composer in his own right, and also plays bass guitar for the prog rock band IT. Kathryn is Malcolm's wife, who joins him and Mark at live gigs where her classical music commitments allow.

They have forged a fine reputation on the UK prog festival circuit and have steadily built a strong following. New album The Confidence Trick showcases not only the infectiously dynamic side of their live performances (which made me once describe them ' tongue-in-cheek, of course ' as the 'Otway & Barrett of Prog'), but highlights their complex and multi-layered musicianship, especially on the keyboards/synthesisers and programmed drumming ' which by necessity is often laid down on backing tracks when playing live.

Malcolm says, 'This album is a collection of tracks on the theme of cognitive errors, particularly overconfidence, and our failure to learn from the consequences of repeatedly following the overconfident. Overconfidence can be divided into two broad concepts ' excessive certainty and excessively positive views of ourselves and our favoured groups. Both kinds of overconfidence can be dangerous. Leaders may start wars erroneously certain of rapid victory. The company director may risk the livelihoods of their staff and creditors to make risky debt-laden acquisitions, excessively certain of their outstanding performance' We all might be better off if we sometimes paused to ask ourselves, 'why might I be wrong?''

The result is a musically diverse, contemporary and intelligent album of prog rock with many other musical genres merging in. Over thirteen songs, of which five are instrumental, HOGIA hold up a lens to the world around us in these challenging times. Often using sci-fi stories as allegories for our fears and experiences, the band have produced not only their most mature work, but also their best album to date, in my view.

Silence is a Statement is a very strong melodic start to the album. Lovely, chiming synthesised guitar notes sparkle over a deep electronica rumble, followed by piano and Malcolm's initially hushed vocals, before Mark's powerful bass and lively drums take the song on. The vocals build confidently, and the increasingly defiant lyrics drive home.

'When we say nothing ' we speak When we say nothing ' silence is a statement'

The dangers of not speaking out against oppression is the powerful message here. Silence is a statement of compliance and acceptance and can only strengthen the oppressor. The importance of both speaking out as well as speaking to each other is emphasised well. It's a song that has been played live for almost a year now ' often opening the set ' and it always works well, dynamically. However, the studio version positively shimmers and shines.

Back Where I Started is an immediate shift in style. Kathryn's flute flurries soar over a darker, keyboard-led background and heavy guitar chords ' providing an intriguing musical counterpoint. Malcolm's desperate and weary vocals recount a sci-fi tale of a time traveller who tries to fix events in history, but accidentally makes things worse. The album's thematic concept of cognitive errors, overconfidence in our abilities and failure to learn from past mistakes in order to avoid repeating them is laid out bleakly before us.

'Another chance to write the story And every redrawn path leads back to the start'

The parallels to the Greek legend of Sisyphus ' continually rolling his boulder up the hill, only to see it repeatedly roll back ' are emphasised by the incessant, slow pace of the track and it is a real grower with repeated listens.

End of the Line outlines a story of a society who can no longer philosophically question their existence and future without the fear of conflict. Is the road stretched out beyond them a line to somewhere else (outside?) or merely a loop to continually repeat? Musically, it creates an atmospheric soundscape of keyboards and muted guitar before a rich bass and slow percussive beat propels the unsettling lyrics. Once again, Kathryn's lovely flute playing lifts the music from its melancholic sense of futility, created by the hypnotic instrumentation conjured up by Malcolm and Mark.

'An end suggests an outside Something better left unspoken We don't ask anymore A loop or a line'

Malcolm's vocals seem to have a touch of Steve Hogarth weariness to them at times, whilst his well-judged guitar solo seems to offer a sense of hope ' although maybe it's a false one?

Perky Pat is an instrumental inspired by the Philip K. Dick story of a post-apocalyptic world where an older generation of survivors use a glamorous doll with a fictionalised lifestyle to distract them from their current situation ' at odds with their children, who have no interest in the delusion and have begun adapting to their new life. Musically, it is a lovely slice of progressive rock and electronica, with urgent, synthesised keyboard passages ebbing and flowing over a busy rhythm. There are some mesmeric, full-blown proggy moments of exuberance which wash wonderfully over you through to a stately conclusion.

World War Terminus refers to another Philip K. Dick story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (filmed as Blade Runner), and the bloody, destructive, but ultimately mysterious nuclear conflict that nobody can remember how or why it started, symbolising mankind's inexplicable tendency to destroy themselves and their environment for the sake of selfish desires. The allegoric parallels to Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine are stark and lend a real gravitas to the lyric. Malcolm's stream of consciousness vocals mocking the idea of 'Another war to end all wars' are accompanied by measured guitar lines, complex instrumentation, and twinkling keyboards towards the end. A short, quirky and punchy track that stays with you.

HOGIA like to mix instrumentals with vocal-led songs to create a flow and balance to their albums and Pretending to Breathe is such a track. Another atmospheric blending of prog and electronica that flows thoughtfully with nice changes of pace, ambient-like passages punctuating some enjoyable keyboard/synthesiser playing. Not particularly linked to the album's overriding theme, but it fits in well between the more intense and calmer songs elsewhere.

Malcolm's love of science fiction has been clear to see on previous albums and the genre is often a great way to capture the current 'zeitgeist'. Another Plague draws on his experience as a neuropathologist and tells the story of a new disease that makes people's faces seem to disappear ' starting with the most marginalised groups, or those we have less empathy for, but eventually spreading to us all. The story is based on the idea that the condition affects the 'fusiform gyrus' part of the brain, which is important for visual recognition. It turns out to be a powerful metaphor for both the COVID pandemic and quarantine/isolation, and how those judged as different or less important to society are dehumanised ' the faceless poor, old, frail or displaced. The music is dense and powerful, and Malcolm delivers a stunning melodic guitar solo. There are many layers to explore and ponder in this pivotal track.

'First those with the least, the ones we'd hate to be, Then it spread, stealing faces of those who look different It's now so widespread, we've given up containment I can't recognise my friends; they don't recognise their children'

Just as the extended instrumental Ark from Nostalgia For Infinity recounted the story of Malcolm's great grandfather's wartime role with the Ark Royal, Refuge is inspired by his great grandmother's escape from anti- semitic pogroms and the Nazi Holocaust. The musical style and tempo attempt to match her journey from calm and peace, through fear and flight, then hiding and, finally, escape. It begins serenely with gentle piano before a sumptuous orchestral sweep of keyboards and synthesisers and through the story's twists and turns. This is complex, symphonic and cinematic prog of the highest order. Pulsating, dramatic and even dancing rhythms, and 'avant garde' touches appear, before another uplifting and climatic guitar solo and a hopeful piano coda. Even without the back story, this is a track to savour. It is a fine tribute to her positive and caring spirit in the face of such brutalisation, as well as the bravery of those who risked their own lives to protect a stranger. The parallels with the plight of the refugees of today are there for us all to consider.

Interlude is a shorter instrumental that provides another refreshing contrast. Guitar, keyboards, bass and drums are allowed to combine in a rich, vibrant slice of neo-prog rock that could easily have been extended for me.

The Confidence Trick is thematically at the heart of the album's message about overconfidence, both with excessive certainty and excessive optimism ' and the dangers of mistaking confidence for competence in society, our leaders, our decisions and in our daily lives ' which lead to repeating the mistakes of the past. It is here that that the lyrics and instrumentation are most integrated, and it is a real album highlight. Malcolm delivers more glorious guitar cameos, ably supported by Mark, as he wearily recounts how we get deceived time and time again by the 'confident incompetent' and the 'narcissistic slaughtermen'.

'We're quick to fall for The confidence trick To fool ourselves To let ourselves be used'

The instrumentation is dynamic and assured, and the restrained anger of the lyrics, with their echoes of the angst of Roger Waters and even Pete Townsend, sadly offer no solution ' other than to stay alert.

Lava Lamprey is a short, jazzy piano-led instrumental with a twisty structure that Malcolm likens to being on an out- of-control ride at a nightmare funfair. It provides a transition from The Confidence Trick, into All Empires Fall, linking the idea of dictatorial power destined to eventually fail. It is another example of never quite knowing where HOGIA are heading at any particular time, which is very much where their eclectic charm lies.

All Empires Fall gives a positive slant on the view that even the most evil of dictators and regimes will eventually fail. It gives a sort of 'nihilistic realism' to history and as a physicist, I can relate to the idea of the triumph of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and how 'Entropy wins'. Strident guitar and stirring bass mingle with rap-like vocals and a modern, accessible alt-rock/pop feel with a catchy chorus. The sentiments are so contemporary, although I was reminded of the Galahad song Empires Never Last and even Shelley's poem Ozymandias. However, it was the famous quote by Carl Sagan related to the famous 'pale blue dot' photograph from Voyager 1 that came into my mind: 'Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot'. When will the overconfidence of the world's leaders ever be recognised?

It is just like HOGIA to throw a curve ball at the end. Cygnus is a sombre, reflective and down-beat ending to the album ' but also has great dignity. Accompanied by piano, Malcolm's heart-felt lyrics on the betrayal of NHS and care staff at the start of the pandemic, due to the failure to follow the recommendations of the Operation Cygnus viral pandemic preparation exercise, resonate strongly. In just over a minute, the loss of so many loved ones due to overconfidence of those in power is clear to see.

'We stripped the armour from our heroes, the stockpile cost too much, We sent them to fight Armed with applause And it wasn't enough'

The excellent and expressive CD artwork design is by Malcolm himself, along with Mark, and demands a physical copy of the album in addition to any download. The music and imagery create a truly special and integrated experience to enjoy.

Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate have produced their best album to date with The Confidence Trick. Articulate and contemporary, and also as diverse and eclectic as ever, but showing a greater confidence in their musical abilities and vision. Progressive rock mingling effortlessly with electronica, classical and alt-rock influences.

An album that can be enjoyed in one immersive sitting, but with individual tracks that can easily stand on their own merits. The band have gained a growing and enthusiastic following due to their dynamic performances as a duo or trio, and their back catalogue has much to savour ' but this release is a real step-up in my opinion. If you like a variety of styles in your prog rock and intelligent, thoughtful lyrics to ponder, The Confidence Trick is not only 'more than adequate'' It's blooming marvellous!

(From The Progressive Aspect)

 Feeling Great by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
3.09 | 3 ratings

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Feeling Great
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Apparently, this EP is unrelated to the band's next album, 'The Confidence Trick', but contains some songs written during lockdown. The first three feature both Malcolm Galloway and Mark Gatland, but the final number is an old one which Malcolm recorded some 10 years ago and was discovered by a fan on YouTube who asked for it to be released properly. The band admit they don't have the original masters anymore, so it isn't up to their normal standard, but have put it on here as a bonus. The EP is just 18 minutes in length, but the four pieces show some very different sides of the band, who often utilize guests, but this time have recorded just on their own.

There are times when they are very Floydian, but the listener has quite a shock going from the almost laid back "Struggling" into "Callisto Cuddle Sponge" which has much more of a dance feel and is often led by a Chapman Stick. This song feels quite at odds with the others, while closer "Skyline" also has a dance feel, so it is almost as if the first two songs are by one group and the last two by another. Certainly, there is quite a difference in the musical direction, while the latter does have something of a demo feel as well (perhaps not surprising given its origins). Consequently, I am not sure if this is a good place to start when investigating HOGIA, and perhaps 'Nostalgia For Infinity' would be a better place to start, but given that all their material is available on Bandcamp why not give them a try?

 Nostalgia for Infinity by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.56 | 22 ratings

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Nostalgia for Infinity
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars 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.

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.

 Nostalgia for Infinity by HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.56 | 22 ratings

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Nostalgia for Infinity
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Over the last year or so I have reviewed all of HOGIA's albums, along with many of the minimalist solo releases from band leader Malcolm Galloway, so I was intrigued to hear the latest. On this album he provides vocals, guitar, keyboards, synths and programming and he is of course joined by long-time collaborator Mark Gatland (bass, additional guitars, keyboards/synths, Chapman Stick) and flautist Kathryn Thomas who performs on five of the songs on offer. Kathryn has been working with HOGIA since their second album, but I believe this is the one where she had the biggest part to play. Usually there is a larger number of guests, but for this album it is just the three of them.

As I have come to expect from HOGIA, this album is a combination of lengthy instrumental passages, plus songs with interesting and intriguing lyrics. One of the prevailing themes of the album is the fragility of human civilisation, with tracks exploring this from a science fiction perspective. Galloway states he has been massively influenced by the works of Alastair Reynolds in particular and has set some of the tracks within worlds Reynolds created. For me, the song which has the most impact is "Ark", which is an instrumental depicting the story of the famous aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Galloway has a personal link with the ship, as his grandfather served with the Fleet Air Arm and was based on the ship for a while, and he now has Richard Galloway's flight logs and I am sure this link is what has assisted in creating an incredibly dramatic piece of music. The piece starts with the ship being built, and then works through different stages from surviving a U-boat attack to its part to the sinking of the Bismarck through to its own demise. He dedicates this piece to "Richard Galloway, the Fleet Air Arm, and all those who risked everything to stand up against the Nazis", and to me is one of the most poignant and emotional pieces I have heard from him to date.

As with all of HOGIA's albums, this is full of differing styles and contrasts, yet I believe this time the separate pieces blend together in a way which has been somewhat missing from the others. Art rock and crossover combine in a way which is both immediate and somewhat deeper than before. I would like to hear more of Kathryn throughout the album, and a real drummer would be welcomed, but if anyone has yet to start a journey with HOGIA then this is the one to investigate.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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