For a band that started life in 2003, The Gift are notably thrifty when it comes to releasing new music – Land Of Shadows is only their second album. The music is firmly rooted in classic British prog, most evidently 70s Pink Floyd, with strong melodies bolstered by flashes of virtuosity.
The catchy choruses of Too Many Hands show off their pop sensibility, while You Are The Song is an unabashed ballad. Yet there is plenty for prog purists to embrace here too, particularly in the 20 minutes of The Comforting Cold, which weaves between strings, wide-open soundscapes and heavier rock instrumental sections to great effect.
Guitarist David Lloyd channels David Gilmour in his solos in Road Runs On ‘Til Morning and The Willow. Mike Morton’s voice isn’t particularly imposing. His vocals lack the range and resonance of rock’s real powerhouse frontmen – he’s more Neal Morse than James LaBrie. But there is a sense of honesty in his delivery and heartfelt lyrics which carries him through the moments where he reaches for notes that threaten to elude him.
A long time coming, Land Of Shadows may not break new ground, but it successfully evokes the spirit of prog gone by.