A new hat

Pop the question: To make or not to make middle-aged pop?

Welcome to the world of HAT OR BELT, the latest musical hat of music-maker Keith Harbottle and his brew of 80s/90s-flavoured ‘indiesynthcratic’ pop songs: catchy, gentle, reflective, melancholic and idiosyncratic.

It goes back to Persuasion in the 1990s, with cassette albums, lounge gigs (‘The Persuasion Experience’) and a proper live debut at North London’s Torrington. Persuasion’s “middle of the road but weird songs caught the attention of Flat Records’ Richard Coppen (aka Dick Crippen of Tenpole Tudor). A three-song demo emerged from his back-garden studio and Big Life Desire (BLD) was born.

There followed CD albums and numerous gigs (with backing track) in an assortment of London venues, including the Bull & Gate, Red Eye and Laurel Tree. The next (long) chapter involved Whimsical Records, releasing BLD’s debut single “Your Love Is”, complemented by the bowler hat/Post-it notes video. Numerous reviews and gigs later, BLD’s debut album “dribs and drabs” was released on Whimsical’s sister label, Platform Records (http://www.platformrecords.co.uk/).

Fast-forward to the mid-2010s and a brief detour in the form of Talkie Broth, working with US producer King LIV, before morphing into today’s HAT OR BELT.

Who does HAT OR BELT sound like? Like HAT OR BELT, but the following have all been mentioned:



Depeche Mode


Frazier Chorus

Gerry Rafferty

Howard Jones

Ian Dury

Jarvis Cocker

John Shuttleworth

Jona Lewie

Kirsty MacColl


New Order


Paul McCartney

Pet Shop Boys

Peter Skellern

Roger Waters

The Beloved

The Field Mice

The Kinks

The Lightning Seeds

White Town