The Gift: Altar (La Folie) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

The Gift


La Folie

May 11, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Altar has all the makings of a brilliant release. The Gift, an established, yet somewhat obscure, DIY band hooked up with revolutionary producer Brian Eno and renowned engineer Flood for their sixth album. And although it tilts the scale towards pop more than one would think, it doesn't disappoint.

The band embraces a cosmopolitan approach to songwriting that melds a plethora of musical influences into a pop style that is both familiar and adventurous. It's a dynamic, shifting tonic that borrows heavily from '80s synth pop, Talking Heads style rhythms, and atmospheric dream rock. It sounds like a strange brew of styles because it is. But these artists somehow pull it off.

Eno's influence is felt more than heard as he fleshes out subtle sonic nuances and electronic textures from within the complex rhythms and intricately layered instrumental work. Although his voice on the chorus of the marvelous, danceable, and synth-driven "Love Without Violins" is unmistakable.    

Elsewhere, singer Sónia Tavares uses her sultry voice as a common thread on tracks that skip through genres ranging from energetic synth pop with fat, hippy grooves to dreamy ballads with ethereal guitar lines, at times sounding somewhat like Annie Lennox, Shirley Bassey, and/or Grace Jones.

Ultimately Altar's emotion and melody has something for everyone and contains enough tasty morsels to provide many a late-night snack or make an excellent musical smorgasbord for your summer pool-party. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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