Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate, Broken But Still Standing, Album Review

in fusion •  last year

Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate
Broken But Still Standing
Independent Release
Out Now

The new sounds being demonstrated here take flavours from progressive rock and electronic circles, merging the two genres in a double helix of evolution. Telling the story of cellular life merging with AI to create a brand new symbiotic organism, sci-fi conceptual music is lifted on high once more with this award winning release. Judged on equal footing with Alice Cooper and Roger Waters by the Beastie's Rock Show Album of the Year, the three artists jointly picked up the prize. Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate join ranks with the likes of Blaze Bayley and Luca Turilli by giving the world this remarkable and exciting musical escapade.

Opening with a swirling polyphonic surge, crisped by digital chitter chatter and melodic lighting, vent writes calmly on page one. A flute style tune slowly pens a series of notes accompanied by sonic glyphs which describe some fascinating but so far unimagined journey. Phases of mindspace pass effortlessly in the spaces we listen to, and without a moment's notice, track two adds a flow of colour to the so far pen and paper feel.

A guitar joins the synthesised flow and the vocal line kick starts a new layer to this almost delicately composed album. Story lines from science fiction spin their twisting walks to the sound of a well composed modern symphony. Blues guitar shines from the progression which tingles in new places of experience. The voice is warm, alive with humanity and devoid of the compression and tone shifting we sometimes hear. The organic sounds give a reflection of soul from the first more digitally inspired piece.

The mood is crafted downward as drones and forest sounds linger in a drably speckled light. A note from the earthy synthesiser reveals a generous energy that signifies the sensation of something growing from beneath. Birds can almost be heard leaping from branches into skyward crawls and disappearing acts. The plucked guitar reveals the flow of the piece and as we sit back into the shape given, a bass guitar brings yet more depth to this record. It's as if it was always there but now we hear it, and its deep mahogany sound likens to the foundation stone of a great mountain. A key change unleashes a sudden burst of life and allows Lucy to begin.

A short number with a jazzy melody, a combination of drum, bass, and wind gives a traditional wave to some classy bar with a cabaret in the waiting. The keyboard sprinkles a resinous dressing to the simple but richly enjoyable melodies and timing. It's all over too soon though and something more has to be said as the song Last Man on the Moon tells the story in words. A female addition in the sound, perhaps Lucy herself in part, a philosophical write is sung softly and slowly over a solid and catchy rock ballad.

And as if a rocket ship was planted to the soil, like a giant redwood, reaching to the sky and pointing at the moon, Advancing on Snailback points us upward and asks us to look at the stars. It is a slow number, however admiring the scenery is more than enough to keep all involved in a good frame of mind. Bass wanders over melodic guitar patterns and a slow drum beats the heart of the music until the last note fades into silence.

And then, as a drum break rolls, everything takes off. More vocals throw the sound into a grunge and punk style song structure, wavering tones over heavy steady bass knit the basis for a guitar to throw power chords in various directions. The middle eight section draws a curtain to reveal a night time expanse of next to nothing, a wistful pause follows then a nudge lifts the awareness to the thrust of an upward climb. One Day When begins and continues the song yet with a new direction.

A cooler and faster pace progresses the album into a more energetic chapter. Dreamy lines of verse structure are matched by upbeat and rhythmic chorus parts that would get a room on their feet and jumping in time. Catchy and on a high, the keyboard and guitar mix to produce a push of emotive sound that allows the vocals to float over the top. More distortion and a bass effect that gives a sense of the digital peels back even more sheets to reveal the harder heart of the music.

I Fell In Love With A Mechanical Dragon is an exciting rock and roll dramatic production that's fun and one that can be enjoyed on repeat. It's got all the right ingredients to make a hit, with a universal and well understandable message behind the fun and merry words. There's a bit of a pause while the end of the track makes its tone and then even more rock factor is piled into the sandwich with Let Me Out. A thrusting bass and guitar twin riff pours over the throbbing drumscore as the vocals show a determination to not let the same old problems get in the way.

Jethro Tull inspired flute craziness zooms over the top of the piece like a display aircraft, massive drums and guitar pounding push everything into a boiling cauldron and it culminates in one more vocal, even more insistent and confident. Under The Skin follows on and the electronic edge is brought out again, perhaps with the new found sense of purpose. A female voice shakes up the story for us at the same time, with sampled lists and sung melodic lines mixing to bring a dualistic effect in the song.

A dancing keyboard melody flutters over a steady bass and drum pulse and carries the moving high forward on a continuation into a tunnel of new sound. Keyboard fills add tangible elements of direction, the synthetic element of the music beginning to lead the way over a more laid back and transient organic section. The instrumental Lucid Assassin offers us an interesting reprieve from the high emotion rock that soon takes over. The title track of the album tells us what the artist has learned so far.

Broken But Still Standing Till I Fall marks a conscious decision to accept, move on, and do it well. It's another single candidate, with a catchy chorus and a thumping rhythm all in line with a great moral concept. It ends quickly, a simple shake-me-down number to keep the blood going, it ends to allow a more heartfelt song to show us the more human and intimate side to this journey. All Alone Together plays gently, allowing Host to come along with a refreshing kick.

An upbeat keyboard riff and a bass led guitar song about moving on and keeping the lessons learned throws off the dark clouds that gathered over the previous track. The words explore how the transient nature of our lives in situation keeps us moving on and apart in continual motion. We do however grow from each other, in a universal game of give and take. Transient Stars makes headway towards the end of the album. It joins a piano with guitar to create a beautiful and moving piece of inspiring music.

Closing with Close My Eyes, the album demonstrates a strain of fantasy that is threaded throughout, bringing real feelings that we all can identify with into a new setting that is described by the way each track is composed. An alchemy of the real and the unreal brings a well crafted story into a setting that's fresh and inventive. The album as a work of music sounds brilliant with great diversity and mixing in the sound. As a piece of art, it's ought to inspire many more and it perhaps is one of the first to tell this story in this medium using the feelings that it does. Good show.

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Rowan Blair Colver

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