[Album Review] Gypsy & The Cat – ‘Virtual Islands’

I’ll never forget the first time I heard Gypsy & The Cat. It was late 2010 and my life had shifted into rather interesting territory. I want to say that just hearing “Time To Wander” and “Jona Vark” from the Aussie duo’s debut album, Gilgamesh, fueled my desire to become a music writer but that itch had been there long before just waiting to be scratched; if anything, they were the catalyst to actually doing something about it.

Once sophomore effort, The Late Blue, came out in 2012, I was months deep into my writing journey with a major music and entertainment publication (sup, BUZZNET!?) and had the honor of featuring the band multiple times, using my (unbeknownst to me) magical powers to get them featured on the homepage – a feat that only motivated me to work harder at what I do to get the underdogs to the top.

Gypsy & The Cat – comprised of Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers – hold a special place in our hearts here at The Daily Listening as they were the first band we ever posted with their track, “Climb Into The Music” – so fitting for our launch at the time.

Once the band announced last month that third release, Virtual Islands, would be their last, the mutual feeling with fans was bittersweet all around. “We have come to a place with the band where we feel like we have achieved the things it set out to, and are incredibly proud of the catalogue of music that we’ve built along the way,” the band stated in a Facebook post, making us wonder if all of those really great things we are fortunate to have in life will come to an end…but not without a little music to help us remember the good times.

virtualislands

Virtual Islands expands on GATC’s classic sound all while leading us into a new journey we’ve not yet experienced from the duo so when you really think about it, maybe they’re right to split while they’re still hot. Inspired by a recent trip to Japan, Virtual Islands feels like an experimental record, evident with intro track, “I Took A Wrong Turn” but luckily for them, it works beautifully.

The band lives out their psychedelic dreams in “Give & Take” while buzz track, “I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else” is a well-crafted existential crisis in a little over three minutes. Bet you thought that couldn’t be done! Once personal favorite, “Paris,” starts up, it feels like some classic GATC with a glittering ‘80’s synth backdrop while “Life” captures the essence of the entire record as it takes on a more self-reflective persona, flirting with the theme of independence despite isolation.

The first time I heard “Inside Your Mind” earlier this year, I got the same feeling I felt the first time I heard them six years ago. A track inspired by longing and lingering ghosts of love’s past, one can’t help but fall for lyrics like, “Come back / I want to show you everything that you’re missing / Inside your mind is where I want to be.” Things start to get interesting with “Odyssey Of The Streets,” which makes you wonder how they would ever have topped that – unquestionably the duo’s swan song of the record.

“Tragedies Of A Love Song” taken on a much-appreciated, uptempo New Order vibe while “Leaving Home” is reminiscent of some ‘90’s Beck mixed with modern-day indie-pop. “Naomi,” is a classic album closer as the band leaves us with an unforgettable acoustic gem, making us want to hold on to them as long as humanly possible before it all ends.

One thing is for sure, they’re leaving us with a killer catalog to get lost in for years to come. I guess it’s safe to say it is now officially ‘time to wander.’

Virtual Islands is available now here.

Catch Gypsy & The Cat’s Farewell Tour in AU. Dates here.

Tina Roumeliotis

Tina Roumeliotis

Tina is the founding editor of The Daily Listening. She's also a professional music nerd for BUZZNET. You'll most likely find her where she finds most of her inspiration: introverting in her bedroom with her music collection and a pair of headphones.