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The Gift - Awake And Dreaming CD (album) cover


The Gift


Symphonic Prog

4.02 | 63 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I took a while to get into this, but isn't that the case with a lot of great music? Now that I have, I can honestly say it is my top album of 2006. I've noticed some discussion on threads recently as to whether this is 'neo-prog' or not. Who cares? All I know is that I hear intelligent, sensitive, hard hitting and beautiful music.

The Gift are an excellent new band, and deserve to be up there with the best of them. They are clearly influenced by Genesis, but are nothing like Citizen Cain or The Watch, in that there is no attempt to emulate one sound. I hear Yes, Camel, progmetal, folk, Celtic, ambient and pop influences at work here (do not shudder at the mention of the 'p' word, as The Gift are cleverly 'pop' when they use it.)

Th Gift plays an eclectic prog which can be very hook oriented at times and very heavy at others. There is also a really modern sonic identity, blending unusual and unexpected tones with more vintage ones like Hammond, Mellotron and wah wah. In particular, the vocalist avoids imitation or mannerism and really sings from the heart. The players are very accomplished, but control their virtuosity, never falling into gratuitous 'showboating' and always putting melody before shredding or noodling (although the album has fine moments of emotional, frenzied playing.)

I would like to mention the lyrics. Simple bloody poetry, I'd say. The 2 epics tell unsettling stories (war and domestic abuse) but dignify their subjects with a fine command of nuance and rhyme. There is metaphor, too, but it is less Gabriel-esque fairy tale (brilliant as that is) and more psychological observation. The sense of hope shines throuigh in all the words, even when events take a nasty turn. The Gift demand careful listening, but you will be rewarded for your efforts.

Although I rarely award 5 stars, this album deserves them.

Highly recommended if you like your prog thoughtful and mature.


jonathan.g | 5/5 |


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