"Although more known in Prog circles, Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate are far more than that. Malcolm Galloway and Mark Gatland offer up big soundscapes. They are as at home with Alt Rock as they are Classical and so it's always a joy to hear what they have come up with.
Arc is a wonderful multi movement piece based on the Arc Royal. It's almost Classical in it's build, a modern day symphony if you like. It's a riveting listen. It's almost 12 minutes long, but feels half that. You just don't want it to end.
Chasing Neon is very different. A synth extravaganza that is somewhere between Jean Michel Jarre and The Orb. It reminds me a lot of parts of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells 3. Having provided two very different instrumental pieces, the final track has Galloway on Vocals and is gentle Celtic Folk that includes a big Electric Guitar stuff. I absolutely love all three pieces, Ark is a cracking listen." - Idonthearasingle
"A glorious track" - Jim Gellately (about Chasing Neon), Amazing Radio
“Just superb...fantastic. This is brilliant. Absoluteley stunning - love it” [about Ark], Garry Foster, The Prog Rock Files
"What can I say - Malcolm Galloway? OUTSTANDING. 3 individual, incredible masterpieces in every way. You are without doubt one of the most talented musical geniuses of the 21st century" - Jason Maddocks, Phonic.fm prog rock broadcaster
"Malcolm's vocals are great and expressive for the material, adding to the dark, mysterious tone." "It's a very nice rendition, keeping the folk roots, but not sounding dated""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, Prog Archives
"Just like Sweden and their melodic metal, there is something special about the British and the prog rock genre. Of course there are other nationalities that master the genre too, for example Italy, Germany, France, and even Sweden too, but there is nothing quite like progressive rock that has that archetypal veil of British eccentricity. Apart from naming the most obvious masters of the genre; Genesis, King Crimson and (this writer's personal favorite) Yes, there are probably hundreds and thousands of bands that make vibrant, colourful and artistic rock with technical and compositional finesse.
Progressive rock was proven devoid of musical boundaries more than fifty years ago, and still to this day there are ensembles that create magic with odd time signatures, playful arrangements and spellbinding atmospheres that makes a 20 minute epic feel like it's an hour too short. A group that most definitely is worthy of such a remark is the London based duo HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE. A fetching name to say the least. The duo consists of Malcolm Galloway and Mark Gatland, with Kathryn Thomas (also Galloway's wife) joining in with the occasional flute when found favourable.
Galloway/Gatland have played together since they were in school, so an exact time to pinpoint the formation of the group is not easy to find, but more importantly they must have enjoyed many years of exploring music and crafting their own niche. Because when you listen to their latest single, simply entitled "Ark", it becomes apparent that they have developed their own certain style. The single consists of three tracks. The "A-side" of course is the title track, a close to 12 minute long journey inspired by Galloway's grandfather's history in World War II. A fine track that starts off rather smoothly with a collage of delayed electronic piano and an assortment of sounds in a seemingly complex, yet playful pattern. The lead guitars on this instrumental track have a lot of Steve Hackett in them, both in terms of sound and melody, and the piano that serves as the foundation of it all brings out shimmering notes that gives it all a gentle touch.
"Ark" has a lot of different movements, spanning from soaring Pink Floyd-like soundscapes, the bright piano lines as mentioned earlier, and more abstract passages that would sound right at home on a King Crimson record.
"Chasing Neon" is the rather different B-side, and shows a more experimental side of HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE, at least in terms of instrumentation. This is an instrumental as well, and whereas the A-side was a documentation of historical events, "Chasing Neon" is quite futuristic and mysterious. Based around an electronic arp pattern that serves as a riff, this is a very interesting side of the band's repertoire, and it shows that Galloway/Gatland master both the classic style of progressive rock, as well as that with a more modern approach.
After an eventful ride at sea on the Ark Royal carrier, and a trip out to space, we end up in Ireland. The third track "She Moved Through The Fair" is originally a traditional Irish folk song, but here it appears as an ambient and downbeat bonus track with strong Marillion (with Hogarth) influences. Not quite how Irish folk music would sound in the first place, but the contrast is heavenly.
This writer's first meeting with HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE is an exciting one, as they prove to be a very dynamic ensemble with ability to discover and explore new directions in their music. The three tracks on this release are great proof that this British duo can create vibrant and texturally varied music with tons of atmosphere, and yet they're not the first band to accomplish this within the progressive rock genre, I feel that HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT'S ADEQUATE's music has the kind of integrity that should make them stand out in the crowd of creators of artistic rock music.
10 Stars" - Subterranean Noise
"One of the great progressive rock bands of our era. 9/10" - World Of Metal magazine (Portugal)
"Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate (HOGIA) is a London-based genre defying band that is on a meteoric rise to the top.
With four full-length albums behind them, HOGIA has been a favouriate of both the media and UK based radio stations, and their live performances have been hailed as nothing short of spectacular.
Things really took off for HOGIA in November 2017 when they received a last-minute call to replace Touchstone as the opening act for Carl Palmer at the Hard Rock Hell festival. Taking the stage as a duo, Mark Gatland (bass) took on the additional role of keyboardist and they added a drum machine and, on one song, a recorded track featuring the voices of Malcolm’s (Malcolm Galloway) kids.
HOGIA stole the show, and the accolades flowed in:
“The curtain came down on HRH with Magnum, Focus, Carl Palmer and unlikely stars Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate stealing the show…They hit a cracking groove and seemed genuinely amazed so many had stayed to hear them. Definitely a band to follow.” (Simon Rushworth (http://www.hrhmag.com/2017/11/20/hrh-prog-vi-day-three-wrap) Hard Rock Hell Magazine).
“Original songs, well delivered, style, stage charm, a great voice and great bass playing. Bloody marvellous. The highlight of the weekend.” (Paul Champion, eFestivals).
In addition to great reviews of their live performances, they have received considerable airplay in the UK, with their second album When The Kill Code Fails recommended by none other than Steve Hackett (Genesis, GTR), who commented “I particularly enjoyed this album and I thoroughly recommend it.”
The album was also named Beastie’s Rock Show’s album of the year in 2015.
In typical Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate fashion, Ark is an epic musical adventure. The twelve-minute instrumental title track follows the history of the Second World War aircraft carrier The Ark Royal, and was It inspired by the experiences of Malcolm Galloway’s paternal grandfather, Richard Galloway, who was a telegraphist/air-gunner in 820 Swordfish Squadron on the Ark Royal.
“When my dad, David Galloway, died recently, I inherited his father, Richard Galloway’s Second World War flight logs”, Malcolm begins. “He had been a telegraphist air-gunner (TAG) in the Fleet Air Arm. TAGs were responsible for communications via Morse code, and manning the rear gun. Almost one in six of the TAGs trained in the Fleet Air Arm died in action or accidents. I didn’t know Richard well; I was young when he died. Although he survived the war, he died in his 50’s of the bowel cancer that would also kill his son, my father.”
“His flight logs document both the mundane and the world-changing events in which he had participated”, Malcolm continues. “The attack on the Bismark, a major victory for Allied forces, is noted with the same concision as a training mission.”
On 10 November 1941, while returning to Gibraltar from delivering aircraft to Malta, the Ark Royal was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat, resulting in an approximately 40x9m hole below the waterline. Four days later (14 November), the ship sank. According to Malcolm, “Our piece ‘Ark’ follows the story of the Ark Royal: The first section represents the building of the ship, with the launch coming at about 1:30. The guitar comes in as the ship takes off into open waters. At 3:00 the music becomes more cautious, as the pagentry of the launch is replaced by the nervous anticipation of imminent war. German U-boats take up position around Britain in preparation for their attempted blockade. At 5:00 the Ark Royal first encounters the enemy. The Ark Royal was part of a ‘hunter-killer’ group searching for U-boats, summoned to defend the cargo ship HMS Fanad. Although the Ark Royal comes under attack, the ship was rapidly turned and the torpedos narrowly missed. The attacking U-boat was sunk by an accompanying Royal Navy destroyer, however it was clear how vulnerable the aircraft carrier was to U-boat attack. The section from 6:20 follows the Ark hunting of, and eventual sinking of the Bismark, the most powerful ship in the German navy. The piece ends with the sinking of the Ark Royal.”
The B-side Consists of “Chasing Neon“, a pulsing retro-futuristic instrumental that stands in direct contrast to the preceding track, and (Youtube video – www.youtube.com/video/Pq54lxJrj7k) and the bonus track “She Moved Through The Fair”, an old Irish folksong arranged by Malcolm Galloway. This was a song that Malcolm played regularly when he started performing on the Camden open-mic circuit prior to forming Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate.
Ark is a beautifully composed and superbly executed EP that deserves the attention of not only progrock fans (Ark), but also fans of electronic music (Chasing Neon) and, of course, those that enjoy Irish folk music (She Moved Through The Fair).
"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.
"It’s strange when you come across certain bands that, up until now, have escaped your attention, especially when you subsequently learn what an impact they are making in the UK progressive rock scene, even to the point, I might add, where they have been highlighted as a band to watch by Steve Hackett. This is certainly the case of the London duo with the unusual moniker “Hats off Gentlemen It's Adequate” who have just released a three track EP entitled ‘Ark’, the subject of this review.
‘Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate’ (HOGIA) is a partnership comprising Malcolm Galloway (vocalist, multi-instrumentalist ) and Mark Gatland (bass, backing vocals, keyboards) who have been playing music together ever since meeting at school from the age of eleven. However, due to other professional career callings it wasn’t until 2011 that they seriously got back together and ‘HOGIA’ developed from there. Malcolm quotes “The band name is a bit silly, but came from a vision in my head of Victorian gentlemen throwing their hats in their air about something being average”. This EP ‘Ark’ follows in the footsteps of four other albums previously recorded by ‘HOGIA’. It is indeed a very comprehensive EP which showcases the musical versatility, writing and arranging talents of the band. Comprising of three totally diverse tracks one gets the impression that the EP is acting as a kind of sampler to showcase the wide range of talents that the band has on offer. Particularly so with their ever-growing popularity and the extent of cult interest being developed in the UK. It is indeed a well-timed release to reinforce the band’s status both in the UK and hopefully everywhere else. Also a great way to advertise their fifth album currently being assembled and soon to be released.
From a music perspective:- Track 1 ‘Ark’ is divided into seven distinctly separate movements each of which portray the various stages of the Second World War attack by British Swordfish by-planes on the German battleship Bismarck. The music for this piece was inspired by the real life exploits of Malcolm’s Grandfather a telegraphist air-gunner (TAG) in the Fleet Air Arm based on HMS Arc Royal. As recorded in the event log This entire military operation has been beautifully captured and set to music in the form of seven distinctly separate symphonic movements. Starting with a simple piano introduction of successive and repetitive tinkling notes that gradually increase in tempo to be later overlaid with a delightful sequence of steady guitar notes. This repetitive piano sequence gradually expands before bursting into a parallel melodic note sequence forming into a delightful duet with the guitar before being interrupted by stark synthesizer modulations. And so in this manner the epic story line continues to form a succession of graphic soundscapes that eventually terminate with a glorious and moving finale involving a succession of clipped piano notes once again overlaid with string like guitar and keyboard choral effects. Not immediately apparent but really steadfast throughout and so important to the musical structure are the melodic bass lines which guide and glue together the respective parts of this absorbing suite of music.
Track 2 ‘Chasing Neon’ Is a cinematic styled up-tempo series of rhythmic electronic proliferations that create a sense of movement and speed which would fit together perfectly well with in respect to high speed sports footage of a similar ilk. The thought did occur to me that perhaps the origin of this piece might well have been associated previously as a ‘Swordfish’ attack sequence for the ‘Ark’ track above and then subsequently removed as separate track?
Track 3 ‘She Moved Through The Fair’. Is a beautifully atmospheric rendition of an old Irish folk song which Malcolm quotes as being “A song he used to play regularly when he started performing on the Camden open-mic circuit prior to forming Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate.” The opening accompaniment of rigid military styled drumming interspersed with the unpretentious strumming of acoustic guitar forms the backdrop for the refined delivery of ‘Malcolm’s striking vocal skills. These musical proliferations are in turn overlaid with the exquisite flute so very stylishly played by Kathryn Thomas (Malcolm’s wife) a sound that washes majestically over the proceedings adding interest and dimension. There is a an abrupt turn of pace in the final section of this piece with a piercing electric guitar taking over the duties of the flute and the song to its conclusion.
Summary: An interesting EP which highlights the talents of this hard working duo.4/5 stars" - Geoff Penn, Prog Planet