james debate
james debate

Thursday 27 January 2011

Genre Indie electro-pop
Label RCA Sony
Producer Dave Fridmann
Release Date TBA (US)

gilgamesh gypsy and the cat

Lately the Australasia music scene has become one of the hottest in the world, with bands like Empire of the Sun, Cut Copy and the Temper Trap achieving major worldwide success, and some of the hottest upcoming artists hailing from the region.

The newest and possibly one of the most promising examples is Gypsy & the Cat, a band from Melbourne consisting of DJs Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers. Preaching a similar brand of energised electro-pop that has become so fashionable among their ilk, Gypsy has already achieved quite considerable recognition in their homeland in the past year and it is considered to be only a matter of time before they break through elsewhere.

While it does a disservice to try to describe a band's sound through simile, try to picture an amalgamation of the serene melodic stylings of the Temper Trap and the delirious euphoria of Passion Pit, with a twist of 80s as garnish. The result is an extremely strong debut effort, ethereal and refreshing to listen to and brimming with quality. It's easy to listen to and unlike much of the genre it's not at all on the nose, overbearing or in your face, it's just a really good listen. Meanwhile producer Dave Fridmann, who has previously worked with the likes of MGMT, Muse and Mogwai brings a level of polish and consistency that most debut albums find elusive.

The first song Time to Wander leaps out immediately with airy synth, dreamy Cocteau Twins-like vocals and a spacious hook. The dance drums and retro vibe are easily recognisable, easily infectious, and a top notch start to the album.

Any good band knows to take things up a notch with the album's second track, this album follows with Gypsy & the Cat's biggest single to date The Piper's Song. An uplifting wall of indie pop, replete with 70s harmonies. This isn't a lyrical masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but it is a finely crafted pop song, the kind that is put together by artists who truly understand why a melody stays in your head. With a drumbeat and bass line in tandem with countermelodies of the chorus, and a catchy effervescence that's difficult not to dance to, there is little doubt that the song succeeds.

We continue with the funky and danceable Jona Vark which could easily pass for a lost Empire of the Sun track, followed by the album's namesakeGilgamesh which is a decent slice of 80s nostalgia.

Sight of a Tear takes the tone down a bit and rounds off a strong first half of the album with its smooth vocals and infectious groove. Synth piano and clever modulation between high and mid pitch vocals make the chorus of this song one of the musically strongest moments of the album.

A more pedestrian second half is highlighted nonetheless by catchy number Breakaway, downbeat and soulful tune Watching me, Watching you, and most significantly by the infectious Beach Boys-infused track Running Romeo. The album finishes with an acoustic/folk departure from the norm in A Perfect 2.

Gilgamesh might not be lyrically the best album you will hear this year, but the music and vocals are consistently excellent with some memorable songs and unusually tight production for a debut effort. In the end what we have here is the first must buy album of 2011, and an early serious contender for the best debut band of the year.

Must Listen
Time to Wander

The Piper's Song

Sight of a Tear

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