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Thread: The Gift

  1. #16
    Commodore con Forza
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  2. #17
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  3. #18
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    A link to Background's review. 5 out of 5.

    http://www.backgroundmagazine.nl/CDr...SeaIsSalt.html

  4. #19
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    The longest review I ever wrote!

    Honestly, I rate THE GIFT as one of the premier progressive-rock bands at this juncture. What I've always liked about Mike Morton and his squad is that their output is very melodic and soft in places, yet really complex and intriguing - as it's developed to a high degree of sophistication on the group's own terms, rather than simply being imitative of some seminal acts. Staying loyal to their own musical principles and exploring renewed sonic dimensions, The Gift just released the 3rd studio album 'Why The Sea Is Salt' to exceed all our expectations. There’s a different line-up featuring the core members Mike Morton (lead vocals), David Lloyd (guitars & backing vocals) and Leroy James (guitars & backing vocals) who have recruited Gabriele Baldocci (keyboards courtesy), Stefan Dickers (bass duties) and Neil Hayman (drums & percussion kit). Neither partner dominates this record; each puts a peculiar stamp upon the CD. Indeed, the result is a richer musical palette than The Gift had ever had to work with, and their most ambitious record to date. Hopefully, my words will become the credentials for your immediate order. So here's my definition… The magnificent opener 'At Sea' consists of five parts: namely, ‘Bon Voyage’, ‘Battle Stations’, ‘Storm Force’, ‘Becalmed’ and ‘Tritons’. They are glued together to make a cohesive whole, firmly planted in diverse progressive traditions, albeit the nice piano passages bring a pure classical feel. Some interesting key changes and mood swings transfer from gentle portion to unsettling. A wide range of themes and motifs to play around is providing a superb framework of reference for the co-operation. The sensitive vocals of Mike Morton appear to enhance the beauty of this chapter. From the lyrical standpoint, it is about human impuissance in front of the raging force of nature. Absolutely wondrous introduction to the album! The second track on disc, 'Sweeper Of Dreamers' is a more energetic piece which delivers quite aggressive, even ominous tone. The generated tension embodies both vibrant propulsion and exquisite refinement. The racy voice of Mike Morton penetrates into the texture, highlighting the strengths of the material. The deliberate switching of melodies and tempos combined with abrupt shifts from coarse push to startling interludes manage the listener's attention. There are some obvious aspects throughout, reminding of Alex Harvey template. That’s a challenging however engaging track with the good balance between variegated instrumentation and bizarre singing. The Gift cools down for the successor, 'Tuesday's Child', an exclusive sample of melodic sensibilities. This composition includes three distinct sections fascinating as one. Marvelous grace comes in the shape of initial part - 'Road Of Ashes' - and it resembles ‘Crying For Help VIII (Guidance)’ by Arena - at least, to me. Cos’ I hear a perfect synthesis of heavenly choir-chant and ethereal soundscapes, thereby providing the mysterious imagery. The musical grandeur slowly turns into another segment titled 'The First Flower' which embodies the elegant vocal delivery atop of the versatile guitar-key-rhythm interplay. The ultimate instrumental 'New Horizon' seems to be a logical progression from two previous outings. The dual guitar wizardry of Leroy James and David Lloyd can literally take your breath away. Just now, in terms of aura and structure, I have to think about mid-90's Pendragon. Next up, ‘The Tallest Tree’, supremely emotive message with a deep feel. Beyond any doubt, the lyrical context has a major impact on the appeal of this particular song (it’s dedicated to Mike Morton's father who passed away in January 2016). Maestro Anthony Phillips offers his twelve-string acoustic lace, a special mood fleshes out by the Irish whistle of Peter Jones (Tiger Moth Tail). Erelong, the heartfelt voice of Mike Morton comes to the fore. The vocal execution is at once really stunning but also par of exchange for the general sonic palette. Having a luxurious continuity, the track develops to momentous guitar solo from Steve Hackett (Genesis fame), whereas the keyboardist Gabriele Baldocci, bassist Stefan Dickers and drummer Neil Hayman join to the proceedings. Great stuff all the way. Noteworthy is a stupendous canvas titled 'All These Things' on which the group applies a variety of different colors, tones and variations with the result coming off like a priceless painting. To say 20+ min. opus sounds merely intriguing is a serious understatement. With the hallmarks of a grandiose work of art, the multifaceted epic is divided into six sub-sections (‘The Vow’, ’Harvest Of The Hollow’, ’Feeding Time’, ’The Jackdaw, Magpie And Me’, ’Swan And Butterfly’, ’Heartfire’) each venturing into characteristic musical areas. The Gift go across the board progressive wise, and fans of Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Rush, Kino, Frost, Dream Theater, Led Zeppelin, Queen as well as admires of ‘70’s rock ballads, can find something to their liking in this package. There is the bizarre combination of much drama and magic, startling interludes and aggressive moments, folky nuances altered by church organ, latino rhythms and poignant electric guitars, tortuous synth-lines and deft rhythm section, delicate piano, excellent lead vocals and catchy harmonies. Let's also don't forget about metaphorical lyrics. OMG! What else the band can pull out of the bag of musical tricks? The final item 'At Sea - Reprise (Ondine's Song)’ wraps things up in honorable manner. Its mystically strange atmosphere conveys subtle resemblance to ELO (at the earliest ‘70’s). A shared sentiment is nurtured by the vocal performance a’la Jeff Lynne. The song slips into a slow-tempo, amidst the dominant synthesizers accompanied by flexible bass and elegant drums. This pattern gradually evolves to the guitar solo during the latter half. Nearby, patently familiar harmonies infiltrate the melodic formula using a fadeaway to close everything. Then the album lingers in my brain long after the last song ends!.. Overall, I can only hope that the exposure gained from 'Why The Sea Is Salt' will help The Gift come into the BIG PROG-LEAGUE. Either way, this amazing CD should be at the very top place in my personal list of 2016.


  5. #20
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    Thanks for putting this up.

    The video for "The Sweeper of Dreams" has some exceptional moments.
    It's always nice when you see something you've never seen before,
    and with all that detail. Too bad the woman is as froze as ice.

  6. #21
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    Interview in PROG zine.

    The Gift-interview-jpg



  7. #22
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    Just a short update. The next album in the work.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prog Head View Post
    Just a short update. The next album in the work.
    There'll be some very special guests performing on the release.

  9. #24
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    As The Gift have more material than was required for a new CD, the double album is scheduled to be released later - in 2018.

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