The label's first artist album—and only their second CD after last year's Japan-only compilation—comes courtesy of the UK's Ben Williams, AKA Gatto Fritto. (No stranger to International Feel, Williams is actually half of Hungry Ghost, whose single "Illumination" appeared on the label last year.) It serves as the perfect album-rep for their brand: a tattered blend of fuzzy synth-pop, radiant Carpenter-esque lunar escapes and Balearic highway jams. Pitched somewhere, often within a single track, between the summer-drunk and the 3 AM dizzy, Williams has a talent for melding the bizarre with the eminently sublime without really delving too far into either to upset Gatto Fritto's internal balance. A gorgeous, vocoder-ized bit of computer balladry, for example, "Lucifer Morning Star," almost resembles the Day-Glo fetishizing of a band like Black Moth Super Rainbow, while "Hex," with its loose, liquefied disco tempo, mines the kind of soft billowy disco Young Galaxy nailed earlier this year.
That said, as one might expect from a label that's made its name on the more hirsute end of the dance spectrum, Gatto Fritto is most successful when Williams indulges in beardstroking. With its eerie, chugging synth melodies and gothic choral passages, "Grinding of the Brakes" evokes a sense of creepy, last-man-in-space solitude, while beneath the guitar strums and Tangerine Dream synthplay of "Invisible College" lies a mammoth seventeen-minute Prins Thomas gem that's yet to be made. "Beachy Head" evolves from simple arpeggiated synths into a moment of squalling guitar-blur worthy of Manuel Gottsching or Emeralds' Mark McGuire. If Gatto Fritto's perhaps not so much a landmark achievement for Williams or International Feel, it's certainly both a promising debut and a pitch-perfect mission statement for them both. If they hadn't already earned our trust, International Feel's now beginning to feel decidedly buy-on-sight.