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The Gift - Awake And Dreaming CD (album) cover

AWAKE AND DREAMING

The Gift

 

Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 47 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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4 stars Well the wait was a long one but has it been worth it? In a simple word - Yes. This album had been touted as the next best thing since sliced bread and that must have placed a lot of pressure on the band to deliver the goods. This album enshrines everything that was and is good about the prog market. It does hark back to the golden age of symphonic rock but also retains a modern slant to keep the whole thing fresh sounding and full of interesting ideas.

One of the main things for me is how good the lead vocalist is. While the vocals are not up there with the likes of Morse and Hogarth they are far better than most prog bands doing the rounds at the moment - particularly from the UK. There is a tenderness in the voice that suits the songs well with a hint on Chris De Burgh at times but, and a big but at that, is when CDB was at his peak in the early 80s. The synths are full and most of the songs have a nice hook and all retain melody. There is the right contrast between light and shade but nothing every goes overboard beyond light rock - no metal for this band.

There are shades of early Genesis in some of the songs with hints to Spocks Beard, IQ and at times Jadis. Clearly in the neo-prog field and with 2 main songs broken down into sections, the band go all out to showcase their talents and varying styles across the entire album. I have no preference between either of the songs but the second one has a bit more keys which I do like while the first main song has some tremendous hooks and beautiful ballads such as Doubt and of course a wonderful opening with Little red Rooftops which brings to mind Wind and Wuthering Genesis to the fore.

If I was to be a little critical it is that I would have liked to have heard more lead guitar work. What there is is wonderful but a few more solos - even short ones- would have made this outstanding first album even better. 4 stars is my award as the band show amazing potential. The next one should be even better and that should ensure a full makr from me.

I intentionally did not disect this album as that is pointless. The whole thing needs to be heard in full to fully appreciate just how hard this band have worked to produce a superb debut album. Everything clicks into place and while there are certain tracks that are stronger than others, it is its entirety that makes you play the replay button again and again. It is a grower and you fully appreciate the whole piece after a few listens.

If you love mellow neo/symphonic music of the aforementioned bands then go and buy this album. These guys have earned it and deserve to be heard. In a market that neglects real musicianship for pop pap, it is nice to see that there still are bands that carry the prog flag into the 21st Century. The Gift are such a band and their name is testament to what they are producing now and in the future.

| 4/5 |

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