The Gift are a symphonic prog band from, London, formed in 2003 after Mike Morton (vocals, 6/12 string acoustic guitar, piano and string arrangements) and Leroy James (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals, samples, effects and programming, piano and string arrangements) came up with the idea of creating a band and making a concept album at the same time. The Gift have a hiatus between 2007 – 2013. They are now back with their fourth album Antenna. Vocalist Mike Morton describes Antenna as «…rockier, more contemporary sounding, we wanted to do something more direct and punchy. Whilst there’s no concept, a lot of Antenna is about how difficult it is to communicate, how we’re sending out messages and they don’t hit the target». Antenna is the follow up to 2016’s Why The Sea Is Salt, of which prog Magazine wrote «…an album of beautifully constructed musical journeys».
Both Morton and James have been working throughout the 80s and 90s in mainstream rock projects, but discovered a shared love for prog (which they had suppressed due to its supposed stigma). The Gift started as a duo, with the two partners sharing all instrumental and vocal duties. Their goal was simply to record a 45 minute epic called Awake And Dreaming, which Mike Morton had written in response to the then current invasion of Iraq.
As Morton explains: «I was incandescent with anger about Bush and Blair’s foreign adventure, The story and music poured out in a matter of weeks». For him, the piece was the offspring of two strong beliefs. One, that progressive music was a much maligned piece of beauty. Two that Iraq was post 9/11 madness. «What started out as a straight anti-war message slowly morphed into an extended fantasy about an outbreak of mass pacifism which totally disarms the military».