‘Gilgamesh’ – “Gypsy & The Cat”
Coincidentally, this week sees albums from two Australian artists fall into my possession. With this year’s Octo-November months already swallowed up with the outrageous sabbatical that is my Summer Break, my counterpart and I have seemingly kicked off the lead-weights that are our University shoes and fallen into lethargy. And if our blogging-attitudes could have previously been categorised as lazy, they have certainly slumped into cbf. With my own personal efforts centred on the eventual (but yet-to-be-determined) break-away from the blog that has been my reviewing-home for the past two years, I find myself torn between loyalty and new directions. Just a heads-up.
Melbourne-based artists Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers are ‘Gypsy & The Cat’, formed back ’08 and returning 2010 with their overdue debut “Gilgamesh”; electropop at its finest. While pop is characteristically mired in repetitive cliché – being the melodramatic sludge it usually is – “Gilgamesh” is surprisingly well-crafted. Even if (at times) the lyrics slip into uninspiring romanticism. But hey! Running Romeo I ain’t…
Think ‘Scissor Sisters’ meets ‘The Temper Trap’ meets ‘Passion Pit’; a subsequent lovechild ensues. That is ‘Gypsy & The Cat’, and “Gilgamesh” is like an amalgamation of “Conditions” and “Manners”. Should be called “Etiquette” in light of this discovery, but that’s just me being cheeky. “Gilgamesh” contains the up-down characteristics of “Conditions”, yet retains the happy-go-lucky fortitude of “Manners” – and ‘Scissor Sisters’ only in the higher vocals. The electronica influences predominantly outweigh the ungainly pop-ish encumbrance for a lighter, ‘Empire Of The Sun’ soundscape; just, more indie. Consequently, while most lead instrumentation is acoustical/electrical, synth is introduced as a counterweight to dispel any alternative elements. As a result of all this semblance, I feel predisposed to re-explore “Conditions” and “Manners”. “Gilgamesh” evokes, on occasions, the vibes of such songs as “Sweet Disposition”, “Little Secrets” or even “Walking On A Dream”: found in such songs as “Time To Wander”, “The Piper’s Song” and “Sight Of A Tear” – in that order. However, this is in no way effects ‘Gypsy & The Cat’s’ individuality, I think. Perhaps, because it is such a refreshing album to return to. It isn’t loud or overbearing, in-your-face and all over the place.
Just the same, the aforementioned carry-over characteristics are not without their faults. At times, I felt both “Conditions” and “Walking On A Dream” were being held together entirely with two or three core, underpinning tracks which overshadowed the rest. “Manners” and its aftershock eventually dissipated, leaving only subtle embers. “Gilgamesh”, on the other hand, has these underpinning tracks – utterly sublime though they are – dotted in-between semi-powerful flow-ons. While not off-putting, “Gilgamesh” delivers mostly-epic, and they respectively alternate much in the same way I felt “Conditions” did, but better by end-result. This leaves “Gilgamesh” as a well-rounded album, without any distinct chasmic tracks to plummet and get lost in. It’s easy to plough through this album two or three times without realising, easy to pick-up where you left off and pick-out individual tracks for replay; good traits for an album to have.
“Time To Wander” opens for “Gilgamesh”, and it’s one of those forefront, primary tracks. It delivers as an opening, with an easily recognisable, infectiously simple chorus. Pounding drum-kit percussion partnered with airy supplementary synth and additional guitar/bass layering. Vocals, usually as a duet, are at the heart of every track and take priority as main-focus. Not only does this allow for Bacash and Towers to stand-out from sometimes-intrusive instrumentation, but makes for clearly audible lyrics. Easy to sing along to (if so inclined). Albeit short-lived, at 3:55, a (nigh) four-minute opening is a comfortable introduction to “Gilgamesh”. This then dies away for “The Piper’s Song”. Much in the same way ‘Passion Pit’s’ “Little Secrets” delivered this awe-inspiring, ground-shuddering thump-thump of percussion as an underlay to its girly-high vocalisation, in much the same way does this thump-thump occur – minus most of the girly. And while the construction of “The Piper’s Song” mirrors in most respects, “Time To Wander”, I think the same-y feeling is obliterated by these distinct, lyrical chorus’. “Jona Vark” (which sounds conspicuously like Joan of Ark) is such an instance. “Gilgamesh”, namesake of the album, isn’t as impressive. Instead of using the negatively-inclined term filler, in its place I will substitute auxiliary; good, but not great.
“Sight Of A Tear” flows on from this; it feels like “Walking On A Dream” all over. In sound and style. Nevertheless, thoroughly enjoyable. Smooth, high-pitched vocals accompanied with synth/guitar/piano. Really, the only track I feel where the music overshadows the lyrics to take overall dominance. “Human Desire” and “Parallel Universe” trickle forth, but lead to “Breakaway”; another primary. Between its chorus’ are where its beauty is to be found, alternating between high- and medium-vocals to great effect. Though I feel “Running Romeo” to be a better finale-feature than “The Perfect 2” – simply because of its musical-appeal – I cannot say that I enjoy its lyrics. More love than hate in this love-hate relationship, I will end my track-analysis on this final sour note.
At around the forty-five minute mark – standard LP length – “Gilgamesh” is an impressive debut from home-grown band “Gypsy & The Cat”. I wouldn’t have reviewed it if I didn’t think so. I eagerly anticipate a follow-up!
Reviewer’s Pick: “Sight Of A Tear”
Stand-out Tracks: “Time To Wander”, “The Piper’s Song”, “Jona Vark”, “Sight Of A Tear”, “Breakaway”, “Running Romeo”
The Enantiomorphic God