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Album Review

by Cut Copy


Review Date
17th March
Reviewed by
Kris Taylor

Cut Copy have always had a place in my heart. They first caught my attention back in 2004 with with their debut album 'Bright Like Neon Love'. Tracks like 'Future' and 'Going Nowhere' really stood up against the onslaught of electro offerings being thrown up at that time by the likes of Digitalism, Soulwax, Lcd Soundsystem etc. For many Cut Copy conveyed a different, more positive outlook than their contemporaries while still sounding fresh and exciting. Their uplifting acid house infused pedigree was manifested in their follow up 'In Ghost Colours' which debuted at the top of Australia's ARIA charts in 2008. The boys had refined their sound and their influences, indeed this sounded like a much more mature record while still maintaining their own unique angle.And now the group has released its third studio album, Zonoscope and I must admit that I have been pleasantly surprised.

One of the true pleasures of this album comes from the way that it has been crafted, each track flowing into the next, the whole album feeling more like one solid work, with all of the pieces woven together. Themes jump in and out, the persistent percussion, the pop doo-wop backing vocals, the pounding 4/4 kick and the persistent, bold synths. All the while Dan Whitford's voice manages to bring to mind anyone from David Byrne, to James Murphy to Roland Orzaba.

The album begins with 'Corner of the Sky' and right from the get go things feel different, confident and exciting, The clink and clank of cowbells and wood blocks over a slowly rising sound bed followed by the stomping 4/4 kick and vocals, almost reminiscent of early LCD Soundsystem alternated with an enticingly pop backing vocal. For me tracks 'Alisa' and 'All We've Got' are a little forgettable but then 'Strange Nostalgia for the Future' leads us through a soundscape that has to be a big nod to Brian Eno and into 'Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution' with an atmospheric swell and crowd noise giving way to bouncy marimba, synth stabs and handclaps. Next in jumps 'Pharaohs and Pyramids' with its acid house arpeggiated synth and cowbells really pushing Cut Copy's Hacienda influence to a new place and ending with a beautiful homage to New Order in the closing minute.

Zonoscope's influences are certainly from days gone by. Splashes of Talking Heads and Wally Badarou with hints of New Order and Happy Mondays. Other influences including Primal Scream to Tears for Fears, Echo and the Bunnymen to Depeche Mode rear their old grey heads. But if your rolling your eyes thinking this is just some 80's remake album you would be mistaken. While drawing on these influences heavily, Cut Copy manage to never lose themselves. And this is key, while harking back to older roots, the group still manage to keep Zonoscope sounding current and relevant. And while songs like 'Need You Now' would sound totally at home on the Breakfast Club soundtrack and 'Pharaohs and Pyramids' sounds like something you would hear being banged out in the Hacienda at 4 in the morning, Cut Copy have still managed to put out yet another fresh and exciting album.


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