Recorded pre-pandemic, January 2020, in The Burning Hell’s (Canada) pop-up Snowbird Studios, aka an art deco villa in Riofreddo, near Rome (Italy), this release marks another chapter in the ongoing international collaboration between the bands. For this album, Quiet Marauder’s (Wales) contributions of acoustic guitar, bass, trumpet and layered lead and backing vocals are granted further textural depth from their Canadian counterparts. These include minimalist harmonic splashes of flute, piano, organ (Jake Nicoll), electric guitar, bouzouki (Darren Browne) and bass clarinet (Ariel Sharratt).
Returning to the conceptual songwriting approach of previous releases MEN and The Crack And What It Meant, The Gift charts the narrative of a troubled teenage girl (Willow) haunted by visions of a mysterious house fire. Willow’s path is traced through well-meaning foster parents, teenage love interests, time-bending superpowers, distrust of domestic appliances and, ultimately, her own memories; covering themes of self-identity and the fallibility of human recall. Though the album marks a more overtly serious tone for the band, the sensitive subject matter is delicately handled through their trademark low-key, observational and, sometimes, darkly humorous lyrics.
A1. Pilot: The Fire
A2. Will I Remember To Remember?
A3. My New Foster Parents
A4. No Friends, Just Visions
A5. Her Love Interest
A6. His Love Interest
A7. The Future Is Bright, The Future Is Orange
B1. I, Robot?
B2. The Ballad Of Loss And Self-Doubt
B3. The Domestic Accomplices
B4. Mastering My Powers
B5. Infinite Versions Of Myself, Same Old House Fire
B6. Let’s Run Into The Flames Together
B7. Epic Plot Twist: Extinguished