London based “Hat’s Off…” have been featured here a couple of times already, and now their new album “Invisible” is available touting their brand of indie-rock with hints of folk, and other styles.
To try and clarify, their sound is one of rock, but with influences of folk, and almost a jazz and prog sound as well. And with the album you also get a little electronica, blues, and prof elements. This is all coupled with dark and bleak imagery. This is made all the more personal as Malcolm, the songwriter and performer, has Type III (hypermobility type) Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The resultant mix is one of sincerity, and heart felt emotion. This dark mixture is one that flows well, and can be quite emotional. Especially “Wait For the Storm” which is a particular emotive.
Opening with “While I Still Can” you hit straight away with the flute off-setting the funky fast paced rhythm. Now, I am not sure how to take this track, as the lyrics “Didn’t you know I could fly?” come at you, followed by a few lines later with “as I go down past by your window”. Their is no humour in the delivery, but it did put a guilty smile on my face. This flows into a powerful track that comes, although inspired by a Facebook update, across as very personal, “Me Again”. It has a slower pace, but the edgy guitar, and the lyrical delivery just set the whole track off.
“Frail Hurricane” raises the tempo and energy it is the only track on the album that for lack of a better “cliche” rocks. With its electric guitar, and faster paced drums it shows another side to “Hats Off”, and one of my favourites. It blends in well with the slower tracks, and adds to the variety found on this album.
In stark comparison you are then immersed in “By The Water”, as the music gently envelopes you with its softer sound, gentler guitar work, with almost ethereal vocals floating over the soundscape.
“Wait for the Storm” the flute work can only be described as haunting, as it flows through the track. An ominous tracking as the lyrics roll out with “What could I do, but wait for the storm”, and resigned to an inevitability.
The title tack, “Invisible”, opens with a Dave Gilmour “Wish You Were” feel to it as it gently flows, with its prog styling taking you on a journey. That… This is also the longest track weighing in at just over 7 minutes.
“Hello” is an instrumental track, albeit the “hello” samples at the start. Whilst closing the album is “Just So Love You”, which has a more jazzy feel to the music.
This is a hard album to pidgeon hole, there are so many elements expertly blended together forming a unique and varied sound. Also, the bleak nature underpinning a lot of this album gives it added gravitas. Usually when describing some many different styles of music in a single body of work you think that the album will be a mess, confused. This is not the case, it is well worth checking out. Don’t be put off by the dark nature described here, and check out our other reviews on “Hats Off” to see accompanying videos. I look forward to hearing more material from these guys.
Malcolm Galloway (vocals/guitar/keyboard)
Kathryn Thomas (flute)
Mark Gatland (bass)
Ibon Bilbao (guitar)
Rudy Burrell (drums – live)
While I Still Can
Me Again (Single version)
By the Water (Frail Hurricane)
All This Time (Frail Hurricane)
Wait for the Storm
Can’t Let You Go
Just So Love You
Words by Jon “No Middle 8s here” M.