Cut Copy remains true to its name for its new full-length “Zonoscope,” chopping and screwing elements of popular and dance musics and yet somehow coming out clean on the other side with something memorable and unique.
In 2008, these Aussies proved they could make a dance album for people who say they don’t even like dance music, with “In Ghost Colours,” on par with the recent success of Hot Chip, Simian Mobile Disco, LCD or even Yeasayer. It was a finding of feet as album artists instead of relying solely on their luminous singles.
Three years later and Cut Copy has hit another one out of the ballpark, with the same eclectic remnants of pop music, fantasy and an hour of pure fun.
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Hip-shaker “Pharaohs & Pyrimids” stole its guitar effects straight from a Cure bootleg, added to new wave, psych rock and DFA house miscellany. Opener “Need You Now,” which nods heavily at New Order, highlights singer Dan Whitford’s nonchalance and sensuality, a tone reserved for lovers’ banter after a dozen encounters. But then the quartet – yeah, they’re a quartet now -- light out of the bedroom and into the sunshine with a “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Woo!”: “Where I’m Going” jogs memories of the Beach Boys’ “Catch a Wave” (Panda Bear best be on the lookout as he completes his next one).
And tell me “Take Me Over” doesn’t sound just like that flouncy bass line Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” mixed with Chromeo’s soft-disco jams, all with the wildlife noises of Disneyland’s Tiki Room.
“Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat” Like The xx, throw in a low-slung guitar groove to break up the simple shake-clap beat beneath. I could actually do without the track, as the helicoptering of “Corner of the Sky” ominously points patrons to the exit, the late, great “Sun God.” And just like the club at 3:30 a.m., trying to get your drunk and lusty ass out of the club, Cut Copy throws on a slow-burning cool-down trance-out, meant only for the true believers.
I think the addition of bassist Ben Browning helped to fill out Cut Copy’s thin parts, bringing a little warmth to their icy beats and vocal lines. The group clearly put a lot of thought into sequencing, in spite of the fact “Zonoscope” is a touch too long. Still, I see where they’re going, and I like it: if there’s any record that will help you shake these winter blues so far this year, this is it.