The Gift release their third album, Why The Sea Is Salt, and I've been lucky enough to get an early listen courtesy of those nice Naughty Pachyderms...
Whilst some of Bad Elephant's roster are only marginally, if at all, prog, The Gift are old school prog rock front and centre and their new album is no exception. It unashamedly wears its influences proud for all to hear. From the beautiful piano intro by Gabriele Baldocci that immediately put me in mind of Barclay James Harvest to vocalist Mike Morton singing about salty dogs and giving off a definite Procol Harum vibe, the album is rooted in seventies prog but in a good way. This is further reinforced by guest spots by ex-Genesis types Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips, as well as Tiger Moth Peter Jones who often flies that way himself.
To be honest I'm not sure why Steve Hackett was even needed. Guitarist David Lloyd adds some wonderful textures and depth to the album with some beautiful playing that makes it more substantive and enjoyable to someone like me who grew up in the Neo era and is less inclined to the middle class England of mid-seventies prog.
Why The Sea Is Salt is a really good album and a hugely enjoyable listening experience that I recommend to any prog fan. Whilst I am sure it will do very well for the band, there is a little bit of me that can't help think if it had been released in 1973 it would be regarded as a classic... :-)