Artists that dabble in the avant often like to namecheck Frank Zappa, but few have the gall to be as antagonistic as the man himself.
Even Graham Gillespie, under his Peter Cat guise, doesn’t go as far as Zappa when it comes to exploding the line between pop kitsch and experimental fervour, but he gives it a better go than most.
This EP could be seen as a quick detour between albums, but there’s more to unpack in these four tracks than plenty of long players. “We never went far/We were much too mashed for that” is a great opening line, bringing Cat into the world of woozy electronics and pitch-shifted guitars that hits the austere mania of John Maus as well as the lackadaisical chill of Mac DeMarco.
The two middle songs are the literal and figurative centrepiece; The Magus feels like a throwback soundtrack chock-full of chunky synths, but also comes with a funky hook and histrionic Scott Walker nonsense-grandstanding. Melon Dating Simulator!! is surprisingly true to its name. It’s the most Zappa-ish moment of the EP (by way of John Grant), twisting a tale that could’ve been a rote exercise of “dating apps, amirite?” into a bonkers story about being in love with a melon.
‘Disappearing Act’ is another very on-the-nose moment, but the joke doesn’t land quite as successfully as it’s actually a pretty normal song. Piano-led for the most part (on an 1895 upright), with grounded lyrics, the only nod toward eccentricity is the almost seven minute runtime, leaving this short collection to fade out on a subtle note with just a few electronic squiggles for company.
It may be all over in less than 20 minutes, but that’s all Peter Cat needs to bring you into his weird and colourful world.