Monday, 11 April 2011

REVIEW: Cut Copy - Zonoscope

Australian chaps Cut Copy have never cloaked their influences too greatly, steeped heavily as they are in a mixture of lush '80's synths and the driving beats of '90's Euro dance. So it comes as little surprise that the sparkling New Order-isms are all present and correct on new effort Zonoscope.

More often than not I'm frustrated when bands fail to push the envelope with their sound. Unless you're Motorhead or Ozzy, why stand completely still and risk stagnation? Something about the way Cut Copy tread unapologetically similar paths, though, makes them the odd exception that proves the rule. At least, in my twisted mind it does.

Opening duo Need You Now and Take Me Over couldn't be more familiar if they turned up every Christmas to give you a crap jumper and eat all your turkey. The glorious drama of the former sets the atmosphere neatly for the light-hearted bounce of the latter, forming a contrasting though complimentary start to the album. 


Where I'm Going features a more loping but no less driven beat, mixing the style without sacrificing any of the gathering pace. It also reflects the band's ability to phase into different sounds while retaining that core, accessible electronica that has brought them this far.

MP3: Cut Copy - Where I'm Going (via Insound)
Taken from the new album Zonoscope, out now

 Buy it at Insound!

Pyramids & Pharoahs skitters back into more influences dragged from the darkened corners of some murky club in 80's Manchester, all synth-echo vocals and high end keys combining to complete an accomplished, if not addictive track. The supremely titled Blink & You'll Miss a Revolution, unerringly prophetic given recent upheavels around the world, lives up to the promise, delivering tropical warmth and ice-cold vocals within seconds of one another. Where it's forerunner failed to push the memory button, this tune lingers from the first spin, standing as a diverse highlight of the release.

Much of what works so beautifully with Cut Copy albums is summed up in this early run of tracks. Between the winding, carefully crafted electronica and the pulsing upbeat numbers, the frequent reminders of the band's underlying influences are buried as a concern, leaving only an eclectic but coherent collection of quickly memorable songs. 

The latter parts of the album are pleasing enough yet lack some of the hold established early on, that is until the glorious twisting close out of Sun God, which clocks in at impressive 15 minutes plus. Impressive, because as it ends you're still enjoying its presence.

All in all, this is the most complete Cut Copy album to date, mixing in every element of their derivative yet wholly engaging sound. It's addictive, catchy, and easily pales any minor gripes about certain influences into the ether. When the tunes are this sexy, who really cares from whom they've appropriated their look?

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