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.
LISTEN to “Broken But Still Standing” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Hats Off on Facebook here.