Summer and nostalgia go hand in hand, the feeling either anticipated in the wake of supposed carefree happiness or as a bittersweet tang in the mouth, as the days start to cool and you’ve no choice but to wait until it starts again next year. In listening to the music of Cecilia Della Peruti – now more commonly known as GOTHIC TROPIC – you are enveloped in the total experience of the above, as her sun kissed tracks take you on a detour through the most buoyant or burnt out of her youthful memories. For reasons unknown, Gothic Tropic as a project is still bubbling a little underneath the public’s radar, but it’s only a matter of time. Fortunately – and deservedly – that is all about to change with the release of Peruti’s debut album Fast or Feast, a project that has been three years in the making.
In that time Peruti had experienced many things that would prove to influence the project: a relationship break down, the pains of growing up, and the decision to be more than an axe-wielder for hire (she previously toured as Charli XCX’s guitarist.) Her high-school penchant for punk has since morphed into an appreciation for The Police, David Bowie and Television amongst others, channelling their angular pop sentimentalities into both her songwriting and guitar playing.
As such, Feast or Fast is practically a concentrated date with your muso friend as they show off the best of their prized vinyl collection, its gaze flitting back and forth between punchy psychedelia and rose-tinted 80s pop. Songs like the mellow and yearning ‘How Life Works’ (which was recently covered by Avi Buffalo) sees Peruti recall feelings of wanting to appease her partner before slaying the thought with a killer guitar solo, whilst the hazy ‘Teenage Behaviour’ celebrates the all-consuming struggle of loving like the first time. Her tastefully powerful vocal is showcased to classy perfection in the mournful ‘Cry Like A Man’, marking her as an inheritor to Debbie Harry’s crown, albeit one less glacial.
Fast or Feast is the cinematic time capsule of Peruti’s pains of being a twenty-something. The heat of her hometown L.A. reverberates throughout her album, the spiralling voices of ‘Chemical Trail’ coursing over the throbbing beats and ruminations of a previous life. Is it one more complicated, or is it even one missed? With the affection Peruti recounts these times, it is often hard to tell, as is the case with the Haim-eqsue pop of ‘Don’t Give Me Up’. She is more than worthy of a similar buzz, and despite the naysaying of many of her songs Peruti’s newly realised confidence is palpable. “I’m gonna make waves, don’t wanna be the same, not gonna play your little PC game,” states the singer-songwriter defiantly at the end of opening track ‘Stronger’. It is a statement that you cannot help but believe. In her debut she finds her footing, and finally grasps her right to be heard.
Gothic Tropic’s Fast or Feast is out Friday 19th May via Old Flame Records.