Released on the 5th of August, ‘Virtual Islands’ is the third and final project from Aussie indie-pop duo, Gypsy and the Cat. During their five-year hiatus Gypsy And The Cat have taken the time to expand their artistry and reassess their sound. The end result is an eclectic, indie-pop album that ranges in sound from pop to ambient folk to coastal rock.

Gypsy And The Cat had a wildly successfully start. With three songs in the Hottest 100, Gilgamesh was anthemic of the summer of 2010. Where many musicians’ second albums can be more of the same or something of a flop, with ‘Virtual Islands’ Gypsy And The Cat have managed to walk the delicate line between writing something new and staying true to their sound.

‘I Took A Wrong Turn’ is intriguing and draws you in. ‘Give And Take’ is gentler than the introduction and reminds me of Peter, Bjorn & John. ‘I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else’ was the second track to be released on this album and is responsible for much of the hype. The pulsing beat and complex lyrics make this an immediate favourite of mine. Whilst the emotion is sad and pleading, the layering of the sound is clever and complete.

‘Paris’ is the friendlier companion to ‘I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else’. There is variation in the range of emotions explored in this album, which is refreshing and makes for diversity in the sound.

The folk guitar, swaying beat and simple melody in ‘Life’ reminds me of The Verve. This is specially so with the lyrics ‘I can’t change’ (from ‘Bittersweet Symphony’). If intentional, it’s a clever adaptation of a classic. If not, it’s still a good tune.

‘Inside Your Mind’ was the first song to be released on ‘Virtual Islands’. The introduction and main riff sound like a broken down version MGMT. Nevertheless, the guitar is exciting and the lyrics are nimble. I enjoyed this one. ‘Naomi’ was a strong finisher. It has a relaxing surf-coast acoustic indie-rock vibe that reminds me of Oasis.

As much as I recall Gypsy And The Cat as a synth-pop band, the songs that I enjoyed the most in ‘Virtual Islands’ were the ones that were stripped back. This change in sound comes as a result of the time that the duo spent in Japan. They travelled abroad to gain perspective and reflect upon their music. The time taken has led to this wonderful growth in sound in ‘Virtual Islands’.

It is sad to know that this will be the last project from Gypsy And The Cat. The duo has announced that they will split in order to explore their art as individual entities – catch them on their final tour across Austrlia this September

Rating: ★★★★

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author: Alexandra Milne