Cut Copy - Zonoscope - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cut Copy - Zonoscope

by Mark Young Rating:8 Release Date:2011-02-07

Australian four-piece dance rock outfit Cut Copy have made a name for themselves as one of the most credible acts on the electro-pop scene over the past few years. With two solid albums behind them, along with a raft of mutual remixes with the coolest of cool kids, including Boyz Noise, Calvin Harris and CSS, the band now return with their third long player, Zonoscope.

The album betrays a rich tapestry of influences. While most closely in line with 80s new wave and synth pop, there are also elements of 70s and 80s psychedelica and early 90s shoe gaze. The band's talent is in taking all of these homages to the past and creating something that's as fresh as a daisy on the first day of spring.

The album retains the upbeat, playful feel which has always characterised the band, afforded by the strong 80s influence mixed with modern electro-pop. Where it strays from its predecessors, however, is that Zonoscope, first and foremost, is a dance album. The band have moved away from the rockier approach of their previous work, having in the main ditched the guitars and rejected the temptation for crafted, individual anthems. Instead, they provide groovier, synthesised rhythmic loops which flow from one track to the next and build into pulsating beats that are more house than they are pop, with the climax of this reached by track nine 'Sun God'. The party bus atmosphere is retained elsewhere on the album though, like in second track 'Take Me Over' which sounds like what you'd get if you asked Wham to write a song for the opening credits for Skins.

There isn't really anything with the one-off mass appeal of the hook-laden party hits of the last album, In Ghosts Colours. Track four, 'Pharaohs and Pyramids', is the closest it gets to the stand out indie club favourites 'Lights and Music' or 'Hearts on Fire' from last time around, but while it's still as cool as cucumber, it feels like it tries less hard and achieves a lot more. The songs are far more about setting an environment than big euphoric peaks and there's a hypnotic vibe throughout.

The band have previously said in interviews that they feel most comfortable making music when they jam. On Zonocopes, it seems that they have allowed themselves a looser leash and have allowed the fruits of that free approach to find its way onto the record. What they've done previously has always been celebrated but, still, Zonoscope feels like a coming-of-age album. The music feels comfortable and effortlessly cool on the record; when there's extra bass added to provide the drops it'll make a banging party in the dance tents this summer.

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