1. This Is A Bust
2. We Got The Boom
‘Track of the Day’ – Q Radio
‘With their upbeat and infectious song This is a Bust, these mutant-disco moggies could earn themselves the dubious honour of being this year's Ting Tings’ – Guardian
‘Fronted by Toronto’s Ali Cat, this band are blowing us away with their aggressive disco-punk-pop… brilliant and makes The Gossip look like yesterday’s kitty litter.’ – Disorder
Explosive doesn’t tell the half of it. Dancefloor electronica blazes; sabre-toothed guitars roar; Ali Cat slinks, screams and sizzles, she’s a Karen O for the catwalk, the sexiest front-person alive. Live, Ghostcat deliver an unearthly mauling.
“Perhaps because I’m not playing an instrument,” Ali mews, exotic and languid offstage, “I feel I have to overcompensate a little bit on the performance end. I feel I have to earn my keep.”
The band is an exotic melting pot. Guitarist Dan Gamble has spent his life hop-scotching between Tokyo and London as his parents’ whims and employments dictated. Singer Ali is the hidden keystone of the international danger rave cognoscenti. Born in Toronto, she was the guitarist in an all-girl teen punk band at sixteen and grew up alongside Crystal Castles and Death From Above 1979. In 2003 Ali was drawn to London, partly to model for the likes of Elle and Glamour, partly to immerse herself in the city’s musical swing. “I grew up thinking this was the promised land of amazing music and super cool people. When I was younger we always used to go to a club called Blow Up, which wasn’t that dissimilar to the Blow Up here, it was all this mod stuff, I was really into that growing up.”
In the eight-bedroomed Kilburn ‘aspiring art collective’ where Ali ended up living in 2006, she met Dan and Ghostcat was concocted: a raucous, riotous guitar pop howl, half Yeah Yeah Yeahs, half The Kills. Gathering a drummer in the shape of Etienne Bellot they began playing live shows - their first was at the Halloween birthday party of a member of White Rose Movement where, as Dan explains, “Ali was dressed up as a psycho nurse, Etienne was dressed up as a mummy and I was Kurt Cobain in a stripy shirt and blonde wig”. Within a matter of months they had enough songs for a demo and Ali’s impeccable connections to alternative royalty kicked in once more.
“Ali knew Kim Moyes from The Presets,” Dan says, “A friend of a friend in Toronto. He had a couple of days of downtime at the end of a tour so we booked a studio and he helped us record three tracks. I think he wanted to do something rocky because his band is so dance.”
While Ghostcat were Kim’s rock bit-on-the-side, his own electronic fizz rubbed off on them. Over the next year of playing club shows around London they dove into laptops and dirty dancefloor beats. The jolt rock of ‘Just A Little Bit’, which finds Ali demanding “meet me in the bathroom!” in what sounds like an urgent appeal for drugs or sex (Ali smirks: “It’s not about drugs”), grew tendrils of electro-punk fuzz. Tracks like ‘Everybody On The Dancefloor’ and ‘This Is A Bust’ began to combine the synthetic filth of Crystal Castles or Late Of The Pier with The Ting Tings’ pop crunch. ‘This Is A Bust’ – their first single – particularly encapsulated their oeuvre, a deviant disco skipping tune about boys.
Having been snapped up by France’s Kuskus label and gathering a thousand-strong fanbase at their Paris shows, Ghostcat set about their debut album, written and recorded over the past year at the studio owned by Prince’s ‘Under The Cherry Moon’ engineer Chuck Norman. The result is a vital, visceral pop record: a modern and molten slab of rocktronic decadence. “It’s a big pop record,” says Dan. “We wanted to make something big. I’m into stadiums. I saw Madonna at Wembley and she was eight hundred times better than Foo Fighters or Metallica.”
“Is that a bad thing?” Ali asks slyly, “to aspire big?”
Big? Trust us, that won’t tell the half of it.