Concept releases usually rely on lyrical content to convey a story to the listener, with the music acting as a backdrop or at least serving to enhance certain parts of the lyricism. Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate (HOGIA) forego this method of storytelling and instead completely rely on the music to do the talking on their new EP Ark – and there’s really quite a lot to say.
The title track, ‘Ark’, tells the story of HOGIA mastermind Malcolm Galloway’s grandfather, Richard Galloway, and his experiences during World War II as a telegraphist air gunner aboard the HMS Ark Royal. Malcolm goes into considerable detail talking about the history of the Ark Royal and his grandfather’s experiences, and that love and attention to detail is more than apparent in the music. A dense, near twelve minute prog rock epic wonderfully illustrates the awe, tension and unavoidable loss that no doubt many active soldiers saw during that time. The anthemic piano and guitar melodies in the first movement of the piece captures that feeling of soaring above the clouds aboard a plane, and is a genuine joy to listen to. The more rock driven sections serve to rack up the tension, before concluding with a borderline tear jerking variance of the intro piano line. If you compare the start and the end of this track, one can see how far of a musical journey HOGIA have taken the listener on, and doing all that with just instrumentation is truly commendable.
The other two tracks, ‘Chasing Neon’, an 80s Synthwave inspired jam, and ‘She Moved Through The Fair’, a rearrangement of a traditional Irish folk song, are just as noteworthy, but they do somewhat pale in comparison to the title track. Indeed, they certainly add variety to the release, but there’s no doubt where the focal point of this EP is. In all Ark is an emotional and historic musical journey, with some interesting bonuses on the side.
Ark is available now and can be purchased here.
Words: Sean Elias