Our Take - 9.1
Three years ago, Cut Copy made an album that seemed like it came out yesterday. 2008's In Ghost Colours is still as fresh as it was the first time I heard it, and it got better with each spin. It is a dance masterpiece and cemented Cut Copy among the kings of indie dance rock. It is one of my favorite albums-- soaring choruses with staying power, roaring synths, and dance guitar punch. It hooked in all the right places and built and released tension accordingly. But at the end of it all, In Ghost Colours was less an album than a series of never-miss singles.
How does Cut Copy follow such an album? In early interviews, they dismissed the notion that they would create another collection of four to the floor dance pop bliss. They shot for a more rhythmic, cohesive, and experimental work, and succeeded with Zonoscope.
Zonoscope is Cut Copy's best album, but I make that claim with a specific definition of album in mind. Is it their most fun or most infectious? Probably not. Does it house their best stand alone track? Again, probably not. But aesthetically it is their strongest most complex work to this date. The songs sound right together- from opener "Need You Now" a tension building, slow burner and appropriate start to the album, to the behemoth of a finale "Sun God." It moves through a complex series of ideas, genres, and instrumentation without ever sacrificing its dancefloor capacity.
This new cohesiveness can in part be attributed to mixing work from Ben Allen (Deerhunter, Animal Collective) and you can really hear this in some of the chanting and in the general atmosphere of the album. But credit should go to the band. This is an album of details, one that merits repeated listens (preferably on headphones), for them to really sink in. Even in hookier songs like first single "Take Me Over" there are complex undertones-- layer after layer of percussion, background vocals catchy as anything they've ever done, funk guitars, a tension filled piano build before the chorus, a cleverly circling bass, handclaps in all the right places, and driving synths round out this "pop" song.
These are the tracks you would expect to hear dominating radio stations if the radio were just a bit, well, weirder. With Zonoscope, Cut Copy really set their mark on the music world. If you haven't heard of them yet, you will soon. See you on the dance floor.