I have to say upfront that I’m not one for Prog Rock and had not been familiar with the genre before reviewing this album. Nostalgia for Infinity by Hats off Gentlemen It’s Adequate is a science fiction album, though, so it felt like I should try it.
And I found curious songs. Ones I don’t think I listened properly to, even though I gave it my best.
First off, the full-on positives: some of these songs are pretty. They have lovely instrumentation and set a mood. This album, frankly, sounds like the background soundtrack from an indie video game or a rather odd movie that doesn’t exist. I got a distinct impression while listening that there was a story to the album, but not one I understood. Something about nanobots and trans-humanism and humans traveling to other worlds, I think.
Nostalgia for Infinity Impies An Explorative Tale
However, even without understanding the cohesion, there were a few songs off the album I would gladly listen to again. The best one by far was “Sixth Extinction,” a potent ending song. Another that impressed me was “Glitterband,” simply because of its rap-like qualities without losing the overall tone.
But, and I know this is a feature and not a bug, a lot of songs are simply soundscapes, and that’s where I knew I was listening to this album wrong. I listened to them while walking outside, and they did little for me.
Frankly, I was bored.
But, as I was getting sleepy, later that night, I listened to “Voyager,” and it clicked. A lot of the songs are more of a mood than a narrative. They seem meant for wandering minds and quiet moments. Alone on the beach with your own thought’s kind of music.
Nostalgia for Infinity Succeeds As A Mood Piece
And then there’s “Inhibitors.” “Inhibitors” does not feel like it belongs on the album. Rather, it’s something I’d expect to hear in a haunted house or a horror game. Creepy and disturbing and it sounds, maybe intentionally, like voices are trying to call out in pain, but are barely audible.
It’s just such a sudden departure from the established tone. It’s interesting, though.
And that may be the best word: interesting. Nostalgia for Infinity is a strange beast. Worth exploring, pondering, trying to parse. Maybe chalk it up to my lack of experience with the genre, but I found it frustrating but engaging. Meandering, but maybe intentionally. Thought-provoking until it became white noise.
But, despite any negativity, When Hats Off Gentlemen releases its next album, I’ll gladly be there for it. Because there’s something brilliant nestled here, and maybe I need more from them to figure out what it is.
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