GIFT – the Brooklyn-based psych-rock quintet – announces their debut album, Momentary Presence, out October 14th on Dedstrange, and shares the lead single/video, “Gumball Garden.” Momentary Presence introduces bandleader TJ Freda as a sorcerous and versatile home-recording engineer, with “Gumball Garden” demonstrating his keen ability to get guitars and synths to melt all over a track. Momentary Presence contains recordings that seem to tease something seismic coming around the corner, as well as dense, layered productions that feel complete, definitive, and impermeable. Each moment has richness, complexity, and singularity. Once it’s gone, it can’t be recaptured. Can you be present? Can you open yourself up and appreciate it in its fullness – the ugliness and confusion as well as the beauty and joy? The members of GIFT believe you can. Momentary Presence is a chronicle of that chase, and a celebration of the eternal now.
“I wrote this song way before most people knew what the word pandemic meant,” Freda says of “Gumball Garden.” “I had a dream in late 2019 where I woke up one day and there was nobody on earth. I was walking around looking for any forms of life to no avail. It was sad but also strangely peaceful. When the pandemic happened, this song took on a whole new meaning. We did wake up one day and the streets were empty. Everyone had gone away. This song is about finding peace in solitude.”
Composed of Freda and his bandmates Jessica Gurewitz, Kallan Campbell, Justin Hrabovsky, and Cooper Naess, GIFT have a knack for conjuring soundscapes that are simultaneously turbulent and gorgeous. Together, they share the quest for perfect sound, harmony during times of trouble, and radical openness. GIFT understands the mission of the group, and their approach is an expression of the desire to live in the moment. Alongside Freda, they’ve crafted a live experience that extends the spell that Momentary Presence casts, and pushed the songs in wildly improvisatory directions. They’ve been selling out shows in Brooklyn for a while now. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on.
GIFT’s debut album, Momentary Presence, is a natural match for Dedstrange, the new label co-founded by Oliver Ackermann of New York City noise-rock and psychedelic legends A Place to Bury Strangers and Death by Audio. Inspired by Be Here Now, the 1971 spiritual guide and counterculture landmark by guru Ram Dass, Momentary Presence is a meditation on working through the anxiety and self doubt that we all, at one point, carry. The arc-like trip from shimmering album opener “When You Feel It Come Around” to hypnotic closer “Here And Now (Time Floats By)” feels like a genuine journey – the sort of assured forty-minute trajectory that is only realized by musicians who appreciate the full-length as a work of art.
Right in the middle of Momentary Presence, you’ll find Freda himself, commanding the storm, lighting lamps in the midst of turmoil, singing about psychic destabilization and the quest for balance, in a voice that feels like a caress. And if that’s all that there was to GIFT, Momentary Presence would still qualify as one of the most promising psych-rock debuts in a very long time. This message, this music – this GIFT – is for everyone.