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(61:44; Bad Elephant Music)
The Gift were originally formed in 2003 when Mike Morton (writer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist) joined forces with Leroy James (guitarist, writer and producer), and they released their debut album, ‘Awake and Dreaming’ three years later. This was followed by a long period of inactivity for the band, until ‘Land Of Shadows’ in 2014 and then ‘Why The Sea is Salt’ in 2016. They are now back with their fourth album, ‘Antenna’ with a line-up comprising Mike Morton (vocals), David Lloyd (electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals), Leroy James (electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, harmonica, backing vocals), Stefan Dickers (bass and acoustic guitar), Gabriele Baldocci (keyboards) and Neil Hayman (drums and percussion). According to Prog Archives these guys play symphonic progressive rock – but I can only think that they were like that on their earlier albums as that isn’t what they are doing now. In fact, there are quite a few numbers such as “Back To Eden” which are more like soft rock than anything remotely progressive. If I was to tag them with any sort of genre then it would potentially neo-prog, but there are plenty of times when they are playing pleasant melodic rock, or art rock. “Wild Roses” is one of the better songs on the album, with some life within it, yet this is early Eighties rock with some keyboards within it. For the most part there is little here for the average proghead to be excited about, and while the production is strong, and the guitars in particular are nicely front and centre, the overall feel is the sort of music I was hearing being played in pubs in the Nineties as opposed to larger venues. They do mix through many different styles of rock for which they must be commended, but overall there are few sparks within the album, and the result is something which I can’t see me ever returning to again, sorry.
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