"Experimentation is possibly the single most important thing that has allowed music to evolve the way it has over the centuries into what we know it as now. Many musicians have tried their hand to create a unique experience to varying degrees of success, and one of the most populated genres to do such in today’s world is prog rock. In such an oversaturated environment, it was challenging for Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate to stand out from the crowd but they do it with pinpoint accuracy and precision.
Apart from having a name that some could find utterly ridiculous, this group out of the UK has a sound that’s as odd as their very name. It’s important to stand out from the crowd, but you don’t want to become so alienated from the rest that you lose sight of what you’re going for. I feared that was the case with Hats Off (we’ll go with that for short), but I was quickly proven wrong. While the staggering number of tracks of “Broken But Still Standing” may seem daunting (seventeen!), there’s more than enough to go around for everyone. Albeit, Hats Off never truly stays to one specific style of rock but instead varies from one song to the next to make “Broken But Still Standing” an incredibly diverse album with plenty of interesting rhythms, proggy spice, and even delicious ambiance to make this record a journey like none others across the universe that prog rock has created over the years. Despite all that it’s the vocals that I can’t agree with wholly as all too often they come in unexpectedly, don’t match with the instruments, or just don’t sound all that great at all. Granted, they’re far from bad but it does weigh down the experience. Outside of that, it’s hard for me to say that “Broken But Still Standing” is a one of a kind album that’s engaging and very intimate to the point that it’s hard to say that Hats Off doesn’t deliver as they give it their all.
Sure, it’s a lot to take in but it’s easily one of the better prog rock albums that really emphasizes the progressive elements as an underground band, and while it’s far from an easy listen for many it still makes for a tasteful record. Hats Off is at that stage of a band’s development to where all they have to do is refine their craft. Do that, and we’ll be treated to albums even more delicious than “Broken But Still Standing” in ways we can’t help but be excited about." - Headbanger Reviews
"The download version was released before the New Year, and was joint winner of Beastie’s Rock Show’s Album of the Year 2017 (along with Alice Cooper and Roger Waters). It has also been awarded NewEARs album of the month award.
Just in case you’re a new band (member) reading this, or not sure of the magnitude of what Malcolm, Mark and Kathryn (from the band: Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate) have achieved here, ask yourself: would I be slightly happy of being joint winner of an award with THE Alice Cooper and THE Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame)????!
The only answer is yes. I’m honoured, your honour…
‘The album follows a science fiction story of evolution from the beginning of multi-cellular life to symbiosis with A.I.’s. (At live gigs we play the rockier tracks)’ says Malcolm about “Broken But Still Standing“
This album has ‘pass me the disco-biscuits & a beanbag’ written all over it! So trippy and alluring that I recommend anyone planning a weekend away in the countryside for a; couple of tabs and some tequila, to pack this CD before fresh underwear or towels! The video alone is enough to bring Timothy Leary back to life!
The band is lead and driven, lyrically, musically, emotionally and directionally by the very able Malcolm Galloway, who also produced the album. A modern-day cross (in ambition and vision) of a composer & jazz improviser with a hint of ‘Eno to keep you on your aural toes.
Kathryn is the Hendrix of Flute, which is not something you quickly pick up after a few casual ‘blows’! As by way of proof, here is a brief bio of Kathryn Thomas (flautist of the award winning Galliard Ensemble and classical chamber musician and soloist including Proms and concerto soloist). As a classical musician Kathryn records for Deux-Elles Classical Recordings. To round out the central trio, is Mark Gatland. Bassist. Malcolm and Mark have been playing together since school. This totally explains why they click, and play as one. Mark co-produced the album with Malcolm.
So here you have a very tight musical unit, who are all highly talented individuals, that have come together, in the same way as Oscar Peterson used to create an ensemble of progressive Jazz musicians (Oscar Peterson Jam. Montreux ’77), and created a modern-day masterpiece of (actual) listening pleasure. Malcolm being Oscar, Mark in the modern day Niels Pederson role and Kathryn swapping out flute for Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet.
Most people selectively look at a key word in the genre description (of any band) and automatically assume they can pre-judge the sound and scope of that band or artist.
e.g. Ambience = background music in a health spa, that you only take notice of when your ‘hot-rocks’ a placed on your back. Wrong! This is a classic case of: if you assume, you make an ass out of U and me!
A sound and album like this takes extreme talent. It takes dedication. But most of all it takes guts! Instead of sitting around trying to be the ‘new Oasis’ or popping out an Arctic Monkey riff, sitting down and planning a musical journey, the same way Freddie’ wrote
Bohemian Rhapsody and Steinman wrote Bat Out of Hell. I can fully appreciate the Pink Floyd and War of The Worlds references (from others) but in my humble opinion this album has a new and brighter edge. Hence my Prog Jazz parallel. It seems to move with you, not want to drag you along.
All I can say is: listen to it. Give the album a full listen, and make your own decision because as much as I apologise to Malcolm and the Band for the earlier drug references, music is much the same as (they say) drugs. It’s not just what it brings to you, but it amplifies what you bring to it.
As a footnote, and as a reviewer who covers 30+ bands a month, this was really refreshing and an enjoyable sojourn from my staple diet of Indie/Alternative/Punk/Rock bands and I enjoyed every minute of it." - The Music Producer
[Just a quick note from Malcolm here - as a former doctor, I feel I should note that I don't endorse use of illegal drugs. I'm not criticising other people's choices, but it isn't something I'm personally involved with]
"We start the year and, as always, we bring you six musical recommendations that we are sure you will enjoy.
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate - Broken But Still Standing
If you like progressive rock, science fiction and of course good rock, this is your record. Their last record, "When The Kill Code Fails" was recommended by the legend of prog, Steve Hackett (Genesis), so this band has something special. On this new album, we have to highlight experimental tracks like "Almost Familiar", "Close My Eyes" and "Advancing On Snailback", but our favourite, without a doubt, has been the electric "Let Me Out". An enjoyable album - the time flies by, and shows that these Britons have the ability to create outstanding songs." - Anfetamina+Rock (January 2019)
[original in Spanish, translation via Google translate]
"We’re staying in proggy territory with the third album from the fabulously named Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate.
Deep breath time, now, because this is a science/science-fiction themed concept album which follows the story of human evolution, from LUCA, the last universal common ancestor of all current life on earth, via Lucy, one of the possible precursors of our species, to conflict and eventual symbiosis with artificial intelligences. Loud cheers all round from all the hard core prog fans in the room.
And it’s very good. The brainchild of Malcolm Galloway, who is assisted by Kathryn Thomas (flute), Mark Gatland (bass), Rudy Burrell (drums) and Ibon Bilboa (guitar), Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate use old school prog as a jumping off point and are quite happy to bring in all sorts of bits and bobs from around the musical world. Which may offend some as funky bass riffs aren’t a staple of this location. So ‘Host’ is probably not the best place to start. However, ‘Last Man On The Moon’ and ‘One Day When’ will probably cause a certain degree of moistness amongst people of a certain yen.
It’s mainly prog but as mentioned before it takes in some indie rock, electronica and a touch of ambient (the latter not a surprise given Mr Galloway's solo minimalist releases) but the core songs, excellent performances and ambitious designs make this a release you really should be checking out
https://hatsoffgentlemen.bandcamp.com" - The Rocker
"Prog rock greetings from "across the pond" fellow progheads! Two weeks in Italy was fascinating and mesmerizing, but as always the search for all things prog continues on. This week I take the Closet Concert Arena over to the UK for a visit with Malcolm Galloway and his band, Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate. It seems Malcolm & Company have put together a new album titled "Broken But Still Standing," a concept LP dealing with evolution.
Knowing Malcolm like I think I do, this album is sure to be an adventure. Since discovering Hats Off Gentlemen almost two years ago, I have found each new release to be distinctive and exceptional in its own right. His music runs the gamut of the prog garden and dabbles in the ambient as well...truly an artist with a vision...and to the headphones I go... With Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate, the best option is to enter the music realm with absolutely no pre-conceived notions about what to expect...so with a clean slate behind my forehead, I hit the "play" button. As "Vent" fills the headphones I am immediately transported to another place in time...the mood is somber as a flute smooth as a sunset reflecting lake cuts through you gently. Vocals pick up the ambiance; darkness seems to set in quickly as the rest of the band circles around you. Top notes of Gentle Giant and Traffic fill the room while the music takes you down a rabbit hole straight into "Almost Familiar." Malcolm tends to fill the canvas with grays and assorted dark hues and that is true here. There is something about his vocals though; their edginess slices through the gentle layer of guitar like an X-Acto knife cutting through cardboard...smooth, but just a tad rough around the edges. This is not a knock--it's the rough edges that give the song credibility.
The ambient section of the prog garden is well represented, so moving down the playlist a bit I find a tune with a little more oomph if you will; "Let Me Out." Continuing to use the darker crayons in the box, Hats Off Gentlemen creates an image filled with tension and a burning desire to rush forth...I kept waiting for something to grab my ears through the headphones. The flute on this piece is nothing short of splendid; you can almost feel the flames roaring at your back. Suddenly a bootlegger's turn into "Under the Skin" leaves you floating above the chaos and mayhem much like Syd Barrett might be while staring down at Pink Floyd on stage today; a bit ethereal I imagine... Liner Notes...Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and song writer Malcom Galloway, who may or may not be joined on stage by flautist Kathryn Thomas, guitarist Ibon Bilbao, bass player Mark Gatland, and Rudy Roo sitting behind the drum kit. I say may be joined because Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate is an overly informal project...and that is part of the draw for me. Malcolm puts words together to create marvelous lyrics and the accompanying music is refreshing and unleashed...there are no hard boundaries; the parameters seem almost fluid. Combine that with Malcolm's generosity of spirit--the band plays more charity gigs than some bands play gigs period--and you get the sense that Hats Off Gentlemen is more like a band's band...playing for the adrenaline rush that performing generates. If you are still on the fence about Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate, do yourself a favor and explore deeper at the band's website Hats Off Gentlemen. You can access and purchase "Broken But Still Standing" as well as the band's other releases. You will also discover their music atHats Off Gentlemen cdbaby and find out more about the band at Hats Off Gentlemen Facebook and Twitter @itsadequate. Closing out the review with the final cut from the album, "Close My Eyes." While staying true to the darker side of the garden, this song does breach daylight a tad. Drums and keyboards burn through the clouds as the song opens and the vocals share a somewhat poignant moment...a bit unusual for Malcolm perhaps, proving once again the prog garden is filled with surprises.
This week I offer you a glimpse into the making of the album as well as the mind of the artist. The clip below involves music from five of the first six cuts on the album; there are seventeen in total. As with a band such as Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate, the visuals in the video are as meaningful as the audio they interpret. Let this entire clip wash over you like a warm shower after running a marathon...so welcome, relaxing, and invigorating... The album opens on the ambient side of the garden, leaning toward aromatics of Eno and Pink Floyd. As you listen you notice your pulse slowing down and everything around you becoming less significant, as if you are but a spectator viewing the world from stage left--much like Ebeneezer Scrooge as he floated through his own life with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Simply sit in your treasured comfy chair with a favorite beverage and relax...
So as we move further through the calendar watching October fade in the rear view mirror, it is but a matter of time when a blanket of snow covers the prog garden. However, until that moment arrives--and even after--the search for all things prog has miles to go before 2017 plays her swan song. Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate is an ideal example of what prog is; music that does not follow a traditional pattern or path but rather evolves. Hats Off Gentlemen manages to evolve both with every new album and every time you listen to the same album...there is so much there you can't take it all in on the first go-round. So as the search for all things prog continues on, The Closet Concert Arena picks up the torch...until next time..." - Vincent Iacocca, The Closet Concert Arena
"Words such as ‘dreamlike’, ’emotional’, ‘atmospheric’ and ‘captivating’ abounded as I immersed myself in the 15 minute video that carried me along its melodic journey. Whether it be the hauntingly beautiful flute, shimmering guitars or the cleverly hypnotic drum rhythms, it matters not, because the combined experience is simply wonderful. The great thing about ambient rock is that the places it transports you to are entirely subjective from person to person; for me it was to long hot summer afternoons drifting in fields of kaleidoscopic colour and texture…….no, it really was. If you don’t believe how good this music is then just listen for yourself on the link – I promise that you won’t regret it." - Stuart Anderson, 5D
"Hats Off Gentlemen Its Adequate – “Last Man On The Moon”
By The Butcher on November 22, 2017
Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate is a musical project from London that is centered around multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter Malcolm with the help of very accomplished flautist Kathryn Thomas, the versatile bass playing of Mark Gatlant, charismatic drummer Rudy Roo, and the euphoric guitar playing of Ibon Bilbao. They have performed at several leading London music venues along with many festivals and street parties building a loyal fan base along the way. In 2017 the collective released their full length album “Broken but Still Standing”. The album is a time portal back to the relaxing, extraterrestrial jam style of early Pink Floyd with plenty of psychedelic atmosphere all strung together by a sci-fi story about evolution and artificial intelligence.
On the track “Last Man on The Moon” the styles of prog-rock, electronica, and classic rock are tightly synchronized into a brilliantly catchy song. The bass and drums groove together driving the arpeggiated syth tones and beautiful ambient piano into the first verse. The haunting fashion of the vocals lyrically paints a picture of other worldly exploration. The amazing chorus echoing the phrase “We’ve been here before” is perfectly climactic while remaining mellow and keeping its cool, each instrument and voice perfectly locked into place all moving together as a finely tuned machine. It’s a hook that everyone can attach to and will be in your head for days. The melodically aggressive tone of the guitar is highlighted with several peaks and valleys, all backed up by the groove of the bass and drums still churning underneath. The entire album “Broken But Still Standing” is full of anthemic songs and psychedelic pockets. You can listen to the track “Last Man On The Moon” on our Prime Cuts Playlist on Spotify. You can also follow Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate on the links below and listen to samples of the full album on their Youtube. Please continue to support artists like Hats off Gentlemen It’d Adequate and share this music with everyone you know." - Prime Cuts, The Music Butcher
"This is the third album from these phenomenal London based scientific and philosophical prog rock heros, frequently named Galloway. Like the 70s realm of rock culture itself, this album has a robust range of homages, styles and expressions of brilliant rock genres (without any of the big hair and spandex), specifically prog rock, classic rock, hard rock, metal, blues, folk, funk, minimalist, ambient music and retro electronica. Hold on, calm down, sit back: they do not do all those styles together in a dreadful big mush, they have songs that feature each of these widely ranging rock styles. And they have a flute AND a Chapman Stick (and know how to use them)! Best of all the team of Hats Off Gentlemen have all mastered perfect instrumental technique, a very sophisticated and not distracting sound. A downside, sometimes they love to sing things over and over, over and over, over and over again.
This is a science/science-fiction concept album, true to the prog (progressive rock) genre, in not too excessive words it follows the story of human evolution, from the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) to Lucy, our collective ancestor (from the Leaky expedition) who lived down by the lake so very very long ago.
Enter the wandering forms including the cellular aliens and self-aware artificial intelligences that seek to either borg us or demand to join our borg, forming coalitions and ever-growing hypercommunities. The primitive cells engulf each other to become the cell empires. There are a range of surprise visits from different forms of life from the future.
Here are the songs: 1) Vent (ambient progressive) 3:02, 2) Almost Familiar (dreamy) 5:25, 3) Luca to Lucy (ambient ancient loopy) 5:09, 4) Lucy (spirits in white satin) 1:54, 5) Last Man on the Moon (traveling blues) 6:02, 6) Advancing on Snailback (ambient) 4:29, 7) Anywhere (snappy upstep) 4:33, 8) One Day When (steeley floyd) 3:34, 9) I Fell in Love with a Mechanical Dragon (humorous lament, lots of words) , 10) Let Me Out (hard rock) 3:55, 11) Under the Skin (lots of words great fun cheeky anglo saxon rap) 2:58, 12) Lucid Assassin (retro electronica) 4:41, 13) Broken but Still Standing Till I Fall (hard rock) 2:55, 14) All Alone Together (piano smoke) 2:46, 15) Host (energized hard blues) 3:13, 16) Transient Stars (piano fantasy) 5:31, 17) Close My Eyes (prog rock) 6:33.
I predict that in 40 years this recording will be in high rotation. Things may be changing along the way, but mark my words, there will be fans having ever-expanding annual reunions and playing the whole album each time they get it out, sometimes twice.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED EQ 4.7999" - Robin B. James, Improvijazzation
"We've long been admirers of Malcolm Galloway's work with Hats Off and this EP release does nothing to change that view. It's an eclectic mix of tunes which transport you from soothing ambient moods through to an organic climax of sound in four short tracks. Opening with the gentle 'Broken Wave' which ebbs and flows taking you to the Floyd-esque 'Glass Lithium' which could sit quite nicely on a Rick Wright album with it's haunting refrain and melody. The title track increases the pace and energy and we get out first, of two, vocals. 'Head In A Jar' pays homage to New York's Talking Heads with the punchy vocals and guitar work building up to the climatic 'Maggie's Farm' finishing with chaotic excess and ultimate beauty. If you've not experienced Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate, it's about time you did and this EP could be the perfect way to do it !" - Review of Head In A Jar EP, Mike Kennedy, Welsh Connections.
"Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate has a sound that roams through many sub genres of progressive rock; confining them to one area of the prog garden is not only impossible it would be unfair to the talents and abilities of the band's founder Malcolm Galloway. But aside from their distinctive sound, Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate does a lot of "extra curricular" work and gives back to the community from which it draws...more on that later.
The prog buffet is the best place to start and a serving of "Head In A Jar" is the right antidote for what ails ya... The vocals are piercing as the drums and guitar almost plead with you; keyboards slide through the middle like the creme brulee hiding under a layer of caramelized sugar...one pleasure after another. There is a sense of urgency riding the under current here; I get a scent of Uriah Heep jamming with Atlas Volt on this cut. Hats off Gentlemen is definitely forging their own identity...
Time to give a listen to a song that wanders off the "standard" prog path; a piece with an electronic bent a la Tangerine Dream called "Freerunning." The sci-fi connection hits you right out of the gate (thank you Philip K. Dick), and the pulsing drums carry the heavy-laden bass line and strong layer of guitar quite nicely. The terrestrial-like keyboards hover overhead and reign down like shards of crystal...Hats Off Gentlemen defies categorization with pieces like this. Imagine Geoff Downes collaborating with Pat Metheny and a mellow Carmine Appice and you start to get a feel for this tune...
More than simply music, this is a band with a cause--a worthwhile cause. What makes Malcolm and the rest of Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate unique is their understanding of the role the music plays in the bigger picture...and their ability to make the music a vision one can "see" with eyes and ears. Hanging in the jazz/metal/ambient corner of the prog garden means there are few direct peer to relate to, but an incredible opportunity to expand on a point of view. The band's latest release is called "When The Kill Code Fails." I found a gem quietly inserted into this concept album called "I Still Remember You." The song opens with gentle drum and keyboards as a backdrop to painful vocals appealing to the emotions buried deep in a heart coming to grips with the reality of who/what he is. The soft layers of sound continue throughout and belie a dark gripping pleading that leaps through the vocals. Hats Off Gentlemen emit top notes of Marillion and Alan Parsons Project on this tune...I detect traces of Gentle Giant permeating the air as well.
Here is a an up and coming band, tending its own little acreage in the prog garden. Upon first listen you find a sound that is distinctive...coming from nowhere in particular yet bouncing through your prog consciousness like Tommy's pinball...stirring up images and emotions you weren't aware of prior. That, my fellow progheads, is why I so enjoy the search for all things prog. The prog garden is quite lush with quality bands that push the envelope and musicians that push the genre in new directions. It is not, however, flowing over with bands and musicians that understand the frailty of it all...that everything can be taken away in a second so best to enjoy the moment in the moment and give back what you can while you can. Enter Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate and the prog world's axis tilts just a bit...you can feel the difference in the emotions; much like the difference between velvet and corduroy. One last music link for your enjoyment; "Solace." The laser no sooner starts to read the disc than you pick up a Pink Floyd vibe...this is a song that will burrow deep into your emotional lock box. The gentleness and innocence that lead you down a friendly path of ferns and moss slowly morphs into a dark trail fraught with uncertainty and suspicion. Hats Off Gentlemen ride the pendulum back and forth from dark to light in a way that might have taken Edgar Allan Poe off his game." - Vincent Iacocca, The Closet Concert Arena