INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Classic Pop JUNE 2017 - by Wyndham Wallace
THE GIFT: ALTAR
To most of the world, The Gift are an unknown quantity. Though they've been going for well over two decades, and have a reputation as their country's biggest independent act, the Portuguese quartet's previous attempts to make an international impact have fallen on deaf ears. Altar deserves to change this, and its hook is Brian Eno, who not only plays the role of producer, but also performs, co-writes and, on the magnificently tense Love Without Violins, even adds his voice to its lengthy coda.
The result is a record full of twists and turns, irresistible melodies and melancholic melodrama. Opener I Loved It All showcases Sónia Tavares' deep, dark voice amid sweeping strings and pulsing bass rumbles, while she exhibits a more sensitive side on the gentle, largely unplugged romance of Vitral. She also dominates the closing brace of tunes, Hymn To Her, which swells like the tide, and the anguished What If...
Those craving Eno's influence, meanwhile, will be thrilled by Malifest, with its underlying funk-flavoured riff and stammering rhythms, and Big Fish's playful vocals and crunchy synth line.
There's also tremendous fun to be found on the pounding Clinic Hope, especially its staccato keyboard solo.