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The Gift - Antenna CD (album) cover


The Gift


Symphonic Prog

3.08 | 20 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Second Endeavour
4 stars THE GIFT first made an impact on my musical consciousness when I heard the majestic CD "Awake And Dreaming" thirteen years ago. That fabulous debut immediately made me their devoted fan. Ever since I always can rely upon Mike Morton and cohorts, because they deliver the top notch records again and again. Their latest disc 'Antenna' (2019) is no exception. Based on a scheme of clever variations, the emotion laden melodious music sounds like a medley of contrasting influences superbly glued together. Is this new release any different from the previous works? Oh, yes! Hence, those who thought The Gift could demonstrate only a familiar approach, you should better change your judgment - the sooner the better. Here, the British team have managed to provide the largely unexpectable material in cross-over style. And it would be fair to say, the new record has its own potpourri-like nature, although retaining an evident stamp of The Gift that I know and love. This time around, the band decided to veer their route a bit away from pure progressive rock with a goal to employ some other components, serving to form the diverse sonical palette. Arranged in 10 compositions, CD 'Antenna' is one of those albums that works perfectly from the get go, ensuring lots of pleasure. This offer draws in, leaving in high anticipation of what will come next and making us want more and more. The opener 'We Are Connected' ensures an enveloping pop-rock pastiche. This is one of those rare showcases that resembles Talk Talk, INXS and Tears For Fears left, right and between yet maintaining The Gift's own integrity. The meticulous tweaks at soundscape lead to the pitch-perfect articulation. The follow-up 'Changeling' comes along to give another dimension for the album, when we delve into almost 10 minutes of the musical adventure built on a few contrasting ideas. Make no doubt, these guys still remember how to successfully handle a complicated prog-rock piece brimming with noteworthy hooks. The elaboration and virtuosity on display in this epic are arresting. The variable guitar melodies are working with the versatile bass and drums, gradually building tension, whilst confined keyboard moods thrown in, revealing a wonderful hybrid of accessibility. The charismatic voice of Mike Morton hits the mark every time to enrich the whole mix crafted by the skillful juxtaposition of instruments. Then, the things devolve to a more straightforward song 'Back To Eden' which is fascinating either way. Moving on. The fourth number 'Long Time Dead' introduce extra colours. In fact, most of it resembles to Tom Petty with the almost bluesy guitar moves. Not necessarily because of similar accents but more due to the meticulous way in which it combines together. What has left an explicit furrow in my soul is the tender ballad 'Snowfall' dedicated to former wife of Mike Morton. We hear the sensual singing gently escorted by piano of Gabriele Baldocci. There are also very subtle strings and pads in the background. The following testament to the variety of musical strains became 'Far Stranger' leaning towards a slightly theatrical execution. It holds its suitable place integrating to the overall sonic tapestry. The instrumental cut 'Hand In Hand' puts the ever-changing set in a favorable perspective to benefit from elegant interplay of two acoustic guitars afforded by David Lloyd and Stefan Dickers. This is something of a musical interlude that features pleasantly nice punctuations. Frustratingly, a brief track fades too quickly. The exploration of enigmatic alchemy continues with the strong 'Wild Roses' that may be described as a salute to Thin Lizzy. The guitarist Leroy James wrote it, being a longtime fan of late Phil Lynott. Well done. Next song confirms that the band continue to experiment. Functioning on a mystic level, 'When You Are Old' slows the pace down to provide a strange contrast with the rest of material. I cannot explain why but I was really embraced by its spacey, psychedelic resonation. The general feeling is like it's coming from other plane of existence, thanks to the group's willingness to experiment with different ideas. That might leave some people scratching their heads, but trust me, it works. And finally, disc ends out with a plot titled 'Closer' (the self-explanatory of course). In terms of instrumentation, it's one of the most catchy tracks on the entire set. The added value is astounding singing of Mike Morton who bears the lyrical message of this chapter. Everything is done for a worthy reason, because these musicians know when and how to represent something. Now it's a right time, where I have to stop and claim that CD 'Antenna' sounds exciting throughout, from the very first notes of the opening song until the farewell chords of closing track. Ever and anon changing material exhibits the uniform high level of care and craftsmanship. The production of this album is clear, deep and bright; all performers do one hell of a job with lots of transitions. It is also worth giving a quick mention with regard to the nice accompanying booklet. So what are you waiting for? BUY IT!...
Second Endeavour | 4/5 |


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