In the not-quite splendour of one of South London’s premier music venues, The Gift unleashed their fourth album, entitled “Antenna.” The Bedford Arms is small but quite intimate, and the room where the band plays could almost double for the Globe Theatre, including a balcony, and the band perform to their usual high standard almost in the round to a packed house of enthusiastic fans.
“Antenna” is in a slightly different vein to their previous albums, in that there’re no twenty minute prog epics. Their new album consists of ten tracks, mostly in the 4 to 6 minute range, with only two reaching nearly ten minutes. There are also more commercial sounding tracks on this album, it’s more rockier than you might expect but the playing and the quality of the music is still top notch.
After a short set by Cellist Jo Squall, who played an electric cello to the backdrop of atmospheric background sounds, The Gift take to the stage and, with vocalist Mike Morton extolling everyone to come down and stand by the stage, they kick off proceedings with ‘We are connected,’ appropriate as the theme of the new album is the inability of people these days to connect with each other. This sees the band channel their inner Rush, and they go on to perform several more tracks off the new album, including ‘Closer,’ ‘Changeling,’ ‘Wild Roses,’ and ‘Long time dead,’ amongst others. For the track ‘Snowfall,’ Mike Morton brings on an Italian lady, Serena, and they combine beautifully on what is a quite delightful track.
Mike Morton was slightly hamstrung by the small stage but is still the showman, and The Gift proved again they have what it takes get themselves noticed in their attempt to move up in the reckoning.