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Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate - Ark CD (album) cover


Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate


Crossover Prog

3.82 | 9 ratings

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4 stars "Hats Off Gentlemen, It's Adequate" is basically a Crossover Prog duo founded in London in 2009, which also incorporates an "as needed" group of musicians for their albums and EPs. In August of 2019, they released an EP called "Ark" made up of 3 tracks exclusive to this release. The band (for this particular EP) is made up of Malcolm Galloway (guitar, keys, synths and vocals), and Mark Gatland (bass and guitar). One of their regular musicians, Kathryn Thomas, provides flute on the 3rd track. The overall time for this EP is 25 minutes.

The first track is the title track "Ark" (11:47). This track is inspired by Malcolm's grandfather's (Richard Galloway) WWII flight logs. Richard served on the aircraft carrier known as the Ark Royal which has an interesting history, including taking part in the sinking of the Bismark. The music specifically relates to incidents as it plays, the description of which is on the band's Bandcamp site for those that are interested. It does make everything interesting to follow along. The track is dedicated to Richard and those that fought against the Nazis. Malcolm plays everything on this track except for bass (played by Mark). A light, meandering section starts off the track mostly made up of keyboards and light guitar. Synths bring in a orchestral feeling and a very nice guitar plays over a beautiful twinkling piano background and the rhythm is nice and smooth giving the impression of smooth sailing. The music becomes tenser and darker at 3 minutes signifying preparation for confronting the enemy and is driven by synths and keys. At 5 minutes, the music becomes dramatic signifying the confrontation of a U-boat, which proved the vulnerability of the aircraft carrier, but it eventually sunk by a separate war ship. The music quiets down leaving just keys and light guitar work, but remaining tense as the hunt for The Bismark begins. At 8 minutes, the guitar brings back in full instrumentation for a climactic section. The Bismark is sunk, but the last section represents the sinking of the aircraft carrier. After nine minutes, the music becomes soft and twinkling again and ends beautifully.

"Chasing Neon" (5:34) is composed by Malcolm, but he only plays keys and synths while Mark takes over on guitar and also plays bass. It begins softly with synths, but soon a funky synth comes in and a steady percussion pushes it quickly forward. The synths establish a melodic, repeating pattern, and then the guitar comes in creating a darker atmosphere while the beat continues. The instrumental is quite straightforward, but it is still pretty good. The last track is the traditional Irish folk song "She Moved Through the Fair" (7:48) which features Malcolm on vocals and everything else, except for the flute which is played by Kathryn Thomas. The song is about a man who loses his love with her untimely death after she went to the fair. He is later visited by her ghost who ays it won't be long until their wedding day. The song is made up basically of 3 verses, which the song continues in a slow march-like tempo in a minor key. Malcolm's vocals are great and expressive for the material, adding to the dark, mysterious tone. After the second refrain, the flute comes in for the instrumental break, layered with the synth and soft guitar and percussion. It's a very nice rendition, keeping the folk roots, but not sounding dated. Later, there is a more intense instrumental break as all instruments come in, but it all ends with a slow repeat of the last phrase of the lyrics.

This is really quite a satisfying EP, and everyone of the tracks would have contributed to an excellent album especially if the material continued as on this EP. Whether this material will become available on a later album is anyone's guess, but for now, this is quite an excellent EP and will definitely inspire the listener to want to seek out other material for the band. The centerpiece track, "Ark" is the most impressive, but even the last track is done quite well. This is a great EP for anyone to check out and it won't even cost you a lot of time to do so. Easily 4 stars but more material in a similar vein to this would have probably earned it another star. Very nice.

TCat | 4/5 |


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