I have spent the last few weeks listening with so much interest to the latest album The Gift from Quiet Marauder and found myself lost for words. Probably not the best place to find yourself when starting to write a review, however, this album truly is one of those that from the moment you press play you will be blown away by the creativity and thought provoking themes within the lyrics. The album is takes the narrative of a troubled teenage girl (Willow) who has had a number of challenges to deal with in her life, trying to find her place in the world whilst dealing with tragedies. This is conceptual songwriting at its absolute best. Although many of us will not have directly experienced some of the themes dealt with in these songs, we will all be able to take some of these themes and relate them to our own lives. The album opens with Pilot: The Fire which draws us in from the off with some gentle acoustic melodies and hushed vocals; that, like the opening lines to a great book, or a great opening scene from a film will have our attention firmly focused on what is about to come next. Will I Remember to Remember? Has such a melancholic and reflective tone to it. The song appears to be taking us on a journey to a childhood home, and looking back at this time in life and how we remember these times as adults. Remembering the impact significant events have had on us as children and what we do with these memories and how they go on to influence as as adults. After the tragedy of the fire Willow is taken in by a Foster Family. My New Foster Parents is a sweet thank you to her Foster Parents who are well meaning, kind, earnest and honest. Whilst at the same time recognising some of the real life emotions of being part of a foster family. “I’m not yours and you’re not mine”. The honesty and emotion continues with No Friends Just Visions which deals with the challenges of making friends and feeling all alone in school “Sitting on your own in a full canteen is worse than being alone in Geography”. This song will resonate with anyone who has ever felt alone in social settings. Her Love Interest is tender, loving and sweet. If you don’t not feel warmth and joy in your heart whilst listening to this song then you really need to take a long hard look at yourself. This is for all the outsiders, anyone who has ever felt different and on their own then finding someone that you can relate to, someone that gives you hope for the future. His Love Interest is next and continues with an acoustic guitar, vocals and some lovely relaxing sounds that allows that warm contented feeling to remain deep within our souls. The word genius really is not wasted when describing The Gift, you have to listen to the album from start to finish and allow the story to take a firm hold on you. I won’t give away too many spoilers by describing every song. However, I would like to pour out my love for a few more songs including Domestic Appliances which definitely struck a chord with me. For the last few years now I have found myself becoming more and more mistrusting of technology and big tech companies tacking over the world. This song perfectly deals with how technology has infiltrated our homes and lives and we just don’t know how to stop them. The song talks about unplugging the Alexa from the wall….full confession, we did try an Alexa once and after a short while I unplugged the device out of mistrust. Infinite Versions of Myself Same Old House comes at us in a groovy, funky way with references to Alanis Morrissette. This song encourages us to think that no matter how many versions of ourselves we may try and create or imagine we are often faced with the same troubles “Ironic, having infinite versions of myself but the same old house fire”. Lets Run Into The Flames Together appears to be giving us the message that if we join hands and come together as one then we can achieve something. Given everything that has gone on in the world in recent years then this is a message the world needs to be listening to right now. Epic Plot Twist – Extinguished is an absolute tear jerker of an ending. I haven’t yet worked out whether I am crying tears of happiness or sadness. I won’t give anymore away about this plot twist as you need to listen and come to your own conclusions. For someone who was lost for words at the start of the review I seemed to have rambled at you for quite some time. The only thing left to say is thank you to Quiet Marauder for giving us an absolute gem of an album. The Gift is an album to love, treasure and encourage everyone you know (and even those you don’t) to have their lives enriched through spending time in the company of this fantastic album.