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The year 2020 sure wasn’t the most ideal time to form a band, especially for a group of musicians who never played together before. But for New York rock quintet GIFT, this strangest of periods was the auspicious backdrop for a bold
new sound – a dizzying blend of early shoegaze, classic ‘90s alternative rock and even modern pop.

Indeed, that GIFT emerged somewhat fully formed on their 2022 debut album 'Momentary Presence' was a testament to the creative possibilities laying deep within. Now, 'Illuminator', their debut album for revered New York independent label Captured Tracks, is the long-awaited payoff of GIFT’s ever-growing musical and human chemistry. And while nods are apparent to label forerunners such as Beach Fossils, DIIV and Wild Nothing, GIFT are shepherding those elements into wondrous new vessels for the present moment–sleek, often danceable and frequently mesmerizing.

GIFT – vocalist/guitarist TJ Freda, multi-instrumentalists Jessica Gurewitz and Justin Hrabovsky, drummer Gabe Camarano and bassist Kallan Campbell are firmly enmeshed in the New York scene as talent buyers, photographers, DJs, audio engineers, art directors and, in the case of Campbell, an owner of the beloved Brooklyn DIY venue Alphaville.

GIFT introduced Illuminator with 'Wish Me Away', their first new song in the 18 months since the debut. With its earworm guitar lines, propulsive rhythms, riveting vocals and mind-expanding aural flourishes, 'Wish Me Away' is the perfect sonic springboard from Momentary Presence to where GIFT are going next. It’s also a potent reminder that you can still preserve that twinkle in your eye even when you feel like everything’s slipping away.

On songs such as 'Light Runner', 'Going In Circles' and 'Destination Illumination', Freda demonstrates a newfound confidence and versatility, embracing pop music as a vehicle. The relentless, often painful dance of love has never sounded as exhilarating as on 'Going in Circles', while the strident tone poem 'Water in My Lungs' conjures the unreal feeling of watching a romantic partner both figuratively and literally fade from view. “This album has a lot of themes of going fast, time passing and things changing,” Freda says.

Throughout, Freda and company thankfully do much of the hard work for us: falling in love, heartbreak. Watching events and moments go by like cars on the highway. People you once knew coming in and out. Grieving the loss of different phases. Watching everything happen simultaneously. For these and many other reasons, 'Illuminator', friends, will be the sou ndtrack to the throughline of your life.


1. Wish Me Away
2. Light Runner
3. To The Stars And Back
4. Going I N Circles
5. It’s All Too Fast
6. Falling Down
7. Destination Illumination
8. Later
9. Glow
10. Water In My Lungs
11. Milestones

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