HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT’S ADEQUATE – Feeling Great

Hats Off Gentlemen 2020

HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT’S ADEQUATE –
Feeling Great

A short reassuring missive from English duo who refuse to bow before lockdown.

Having released a full-length record “Nostalgia For Infinity” in the first half of 2020, this little ensemble unwillingly turned it into a prophecy of sorts, and when pandemic was in full swing Malcolm Galloway and Mark Gatland had no choice except to turn the tables on the sickness of the situation and swing their creative pendulum the other way. Which is why, wrapping the group’s patented melancholy in a subtle variety of moods, the “Feeling Great” EP is as life-affirming as a prog album should be. Yet the three numbers on offer hold much more than what lies on the surface.

That’s how the titular ballad with its soft, gorgeous piano tune seems to purvey not defiance but rather fatigue – admitting “sometimes it’s OK not to be fine” – and the stiff-upper-lip façade which so many of the listeners may hide now, too, whereas Galloway’s soaring guitar solo of “Struggling” is sculpting twangy hope out of organ-grounded despair. Thus, there’s something naturally organic in the busy groove Gatland’s Chapman Stick and bass inject into “Callisto Cuddle Sponge” to let the cut flutter graciously above synthesizers-driven romantic funk, and once the previously unfinished and newly remastered “Skyline” floats into focus and lets delicate electronica fill the ether, optimism and light reign supreme.

This is the point of “Feeling Great” coming alive. It’s something that had to be done – and the London duo did it gloriously.

*****

April 7, 2021

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