“Out Of Mind“, Hats Of Gentlemen It’s Adequate ‘s fourth album, is like it’s predecessor “Broken But Still Standing“ an album with a theme. This time the album is inspired by memory, from a variety of perspectives, reflecting the band’s interest in science and science fiction, and singer/multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Galloway’s background as a neuropathologist and school teacher about the brain. Last year the new album was already released in digital formats. This month it will be on general release as a physical CD on their own Glass Castle Recordings label.
Mark Gatland - bass guitar, Chapman Stick, additional guitars, keyboard, backing vocals; Kathryn Thomas - flute, bass flute, vocals on The Electric Ant
reviewThe album starts with “Coming Back“ which is inspired by Philip K Dick’s novel “Time Out Of Joint“. The protagonist finds that the 1950’s American town within which he thinks he lives is artificial. He has retreated into this world to hide from himself the responsibility of his real life. Not scared that the truth is being hidden from him, but that the truth is coming back to him. After a short atmospheric opening with synths and delicate guitar playing this song with large amounts of lyrics develops into a piece of music with a brooding atmosphere. The intermediate instrumental part with it’s beautiful bass and guitar lines I like best. It is a short preview of what is coming next.
The following track “When I Was A Ship“ is also inspired by science fiction, this time Ann Leckie’s “Imperial Radch“ trilogy. The main character once was a warship, whose artificial intelligence was distributed between the ship and the elements of her programme distributed into mind-wiped slaves (ancillaries ). She was programmed to unquestioningly follow her orders, but different factions of clones of her master are secretly at war with each other, leading to the destruction of all aspects of herself other than one fragment in a single ancillary. The opening of this beautiful piece of music reminds me of a slow Tim Bowness song with a delicate instrumentation. This is followed by piano and a melodic synth melody. Like in the opener those beautiful instrumental parts are closed in with fast vocal parts with a lot of lyrics. At one point I was thinking ... there is simply to much text to be told to present the storytelling. But musically speaking this is a very beautiful song.
“Defiance“ is a short uptempo instrumental piece with a nice synth melody. The contrast with the following piece “De Humani Corporis Fabrica“ is big. On “The Fabric Of The Human Body“ is the title of Andreas Vesalius’s ground-breaking anatomy book that was published in 1543. This piece includes beautiful flute melodies played by Kathryn Thomas. In the last part you can enjoy an electric guitar solo. The next instrumental piece is called “The Rose That Was Red In The Dark“ and has a somewhat ambient atmosphere at first. Later on the synths are joined with electric guitar and a nice piano melody. After another instrumental piece (Maze) follows the uptempo track Stand Up which is about those who twist history to promote hatred. To be honest the next song is more my cup of tea. It is called “I Miss The Stars“. The last conscious entity drifting towards the heat death of the universe reflects on the inevitable loss of memory as it disintegrates. This ambient piece perfectly generates the feeling of floating into space.
The short instrumental “If You Think This World Is Bad“ is inspired by a quote of Philip K Dick’s novel “Time Out Of Joint“. This is followed by “Losing Myself“. A song from the perspective of someone trapped in a mind degenerating due to dementia. A beautiful and delicate song with some wonderful melodies. If you are familiar with the effects that dementia has on the patient and the people around him/her the sad atmosphere of this piece will reach your hart. Like “Coming Back“ and “If You Think This World Is Bad“ the following track “The Electric Ant“ is also inspired by the novel “Time Out Of Joint“. This time someone attending a hospital is surprised to be told that they are not human, but an electric ant (although apparently identical to a human from the outside). Well if you are, like the band, into science fiction this album will keep your mind busy. In this piece you can hear the voice of Kathryn Thomas.
The album ends with the beautiful song “Lidice“. It is named after the Czech mining village destroyed by the Nazis, murdering 88 children and 252 adults. They wanted the village to be wiped from history. In response to the worst acts of inhumanity, we sometimes find the best of humanity. The village was rebuilt after the war by the support of the community of a mining village in Staffordshire. Hitler wanted the name Lidice to be forgotten - he failed. It is one of the best songs of the album. After a slow opening with a delicate instrumentation and beautiful vocal parts this piece develops into one of the songs which are the most interesting for the lovers of progressive rock. The song includes beautiful flute melodies, emotionally sung vocals and a soaring guitar solo in the end. As a coincidence two days before writing this review I watched a film (“HHhH - The man With The Iron Heart“) about this sad event in World War II. A film that focuses on Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague. His death led to a wave of reprisals by SS troops, including the destruction of villages and the mass killing of civilians.