PETER CAT – The Magus

Peter Cat 2022

PETER CAT –
The Magus

Caledonian auteur exposes hypocrites by enshrouding their lonesome ways in colorful tapestry.

Scotland has long had it with straightforward pop, so lately there’s been a lot of action on the quirky side of things – something that “The Saccharine Underground” by this Glaswegian songmonger, as he prefers to be seen as, embodied quite well. The 2020 album’s follow-up EP “The Magus” feels even more leftfield, edging into nuanced avant-garde to evoke images of dystopian deception and wrap the disturbing aural pictures in an array of weirdly sweet tunes. Here’s darkness, of course, but Peter Cat’s is a velveteen sort of gloom which many should find delicious.

The taste of things will be offered in “Blue Raspberry” whose groove, alluringly drenched in a synthesizers’ belch and guitars’ wobble, could seem shoegazey were it not for the piece’s inner uplift – a spiritual, if twisted, melodic path leading Graham Gillespie’s baritone towards celestial delight – and its ever-shifting analogue background. However, the gossamer tones of the platter’s title track and the spoken word intro create a cinematic panorama to compact the claustrophobic perspective into a misplaced slab of funky dread and spike this existential experiment with anthemic choruses.

As a result, the camp “Melon Dating Simulator!!” fails to surprise the listener when the artist’s Scott Walker-like vocals meet a Gary Numanesque electronica, while the vaudevillian mini-epic “Disappearing Act” – recorded on a 1895 German piano to emphasize the number’s Weimar vibe is genuinely gorgeous, Gillespie’s theatrical delivery and faux-orchestral polyphony giving this ballad a multidimensional depth. Once it’s sacrificed to silence, the listener has no other option but to spin the record again and see the all the cuts in a different – magical – light.

****1/2

January 23, 2022

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