After a massively destructive apartment fire, a rebranded The Hats releases their first LP in over five years.

Patrik Gochez of the Hats describes the fire that destroyed his and his bandmates’ apartment as an emotional and creative purge. “Often, when moving from apartment to apartment, home to home, we’ll be packing things up and think, ‘Do I need this? I don’t really know, but I’ll pack it up and deal with it at the new place.’ All that stuff was lost,” he says, and it’s with that sort of mentality that their new album, Chemical Drippers, was created.

Because here’s the thing: the band has a new name. Gone is the “Pat &” from the old Pat & the Hats moniker, burned away by the venues who thought it sounded a little too Seussian. Gone are all the songs that had been written long before the flames. The proverbial fat has been burned, the darlings they were hesitant to kill between those metaphorical apartment moves forcibly left behind. “The fire invited new material, and the album is made up of material written either right before, or after,” says Gochez.

It took some time for the Hats to get back on their feet after the fire. Many of the band members spent the following months working, couch surfing and saving money in order to get themselves back into a new place. Once 2017 kicked in, the band was finally ready to start rehearsing and writing new material. However, it wasn’t until early 2018 that they seriously began working on Chemical Drippers, the kind of wait that allows for new perspectives to be found.

Yet, the Hats haven’t allowed the fire to completely take over their music. Only one of the songs on the album, “Twenty Sixteen” is about what happened to their apartment. Instead, the album boasts an understanding of new beginnings, best echoed in the song “I’m Starting Over.” “The challenge I gave myself for this record was to write about people, events, and ideas that I know or am experiencing,” says Gochez. He wrote the lyrics and basic chords to all the songs before presenting them to the other Hats, who then began to build off of them.

The diversity in the musical arrangement mirrors the wide range of subjects and lyrical themes. “Rock & Roll Man,” which is about Gochez’s time in the service industry, takes on twice-strummed chords in the verses—like something you would hear on a Kinks album—while Gochez’s observations of the state of recent American culture in “Indecency Blues,” has a climax that, according to keyboardist Brittany Laine, is reminiscent of “an overblown the Moody Blues.”

Throughout the record, the band’s late 60s rock-and-roll-inspired experimentation prevails. It’s the kind of influence that can be found in all aspects of their music: From the band’s name, which like so many other acts from the 60s starts with a “the,” to the titles and choreography of their latest music video. Check it out below:

 

Catch the Hats at their record release party at Daddy Jones on September 21 before they head over to the UK for their first ever overseas album support tour in November.

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