Gypsy & The Cat: cred-pop from Australia

Antipodean cred-pop titans Gypsy & The Cat sound exactly like the kind of band that would lift its name from a book of children’s bedtime stories, which is to say they write songs as simple as they are dream-like. Debut single ‘Time To Wander’ stands as a shining example, its cascading drums and piano swells conjuring panoramic vistas in exotic, faraway lands. It’s all far from accidental, considering that Xavier Bacash, one half of the Melbourne duo, was preparing for a trip to India when he wrote the song. “It was actually the last one we completed [for the album],” says Bacash. “Lionel [Towers] and I were into Tears For Fears at the time, and we wanted to do something in that ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’-style.”

TFF’s heftiest smash is a fitting touchstone considering that ‘Gilgamesh’, the band’s forthcoming debut album, was a truly international effort. It was made in Australia but mixed remotely in Los Angeles, CA by Rich Costey and Buffalo, NY by Dave Fridmann while the band were stationed in London. Though it’s tempting to read the album as a literal document of the band’s wanderlust, the journey on ‘Gilgamesh’, at least for Bacash, runs deeper. According to the ancient text to which the album owes its title, the Sumerian royal and demigod erected a giant wall to protect his kingdom. The story resonated with Bacash. “I used it as a metaphor for a break-up with my ex-girlfriend because she was doing that to me, putting up this wall. Lyrically, that’s the inspiration for a lot of the record.”

If the lyrics are bitter, they stand in sharp contrast to Gypsy’s smooth, sparkling synthetic melodies, which allude to a bevy of studio-enamoured soft-rock pioneers. Radar has been rumbling on about a yacht-rock revival for months now, and it seems this Aussie pairing are dragging that scooner into powdery synth pastures new. Bacash is upfront about their influences: “We like the Bee Gees, Simon & Garfunkel, The Police and Toto – even if that makes us uncool,” he insists. This lack of pretence is perhaps the band’s greatest asset, a reminder that it pays not to try neither too little nor too hard.

Need To Know

• While making the album, Xavier had
a job packing glasses and plates for
a hospitality company

• The duo once had to endure an awkward and mostly silent dinner, due to the language barrier, with famed French house DJ Alan Braxe

• The one album that Xavier claims he can’t live without is Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’

This article originally appeared in the December 4 issue of NME

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