Channelling classic New Order through the electro-styling of LCD Soundsystem, Cut Copy’s sophomore 2008 release In Ghost Colours, was a definitive triumph setting a new standard for 80s synth-pop/ new wave revivalists. The record boasted the perfect balance of pulsating anthems for the dance floor like ‘Lights And Music’ and ‘Hearts On Fire’ and euphoric slow burners like ‘Midnight Runner’. On tracks like the stunning ‘Feel The Love’, they sumptuously blended acoustic guitars against a backdrop of dreamy synthesizers, providing the perfect platform for Dan Whitford’s laidback vocals. Three years on, and with an extra member on board (bassist Ben Browning), the Australian electro-indie outfit return with the much-anticipated Zonoscope.
Zonoscope opens with the majestic ‘Need You Now’ a 6-minute masterpiece that builds slowly towards a glorious moment of freedom where Whitford’s steady vocals finally crack. Showering the listener with an understated grandeur ‘Need You Now’ is probably the strongest track on the album and sets the tone for the rest of album which sustains it’s uplifting and expansive warmth and continued nod to the likes of New Order and Depeche Mode. Zonoscope is essentially a record for the summer. Tracks like ‘Pharaohs and Pyramids’ and ‘Corner of The Sun expand in intensity in a restrained manner that allows you to really take in the rich textures on show before they reach a controlled but rewarding conclusion.
The band have not, however, forgotten their way to a great hook with ‘Blink And You’ll Miss the Revolution’ possessing the catchiness of any of the singles off In Ghost Colours, complete with an irresistible glockenspiel-laden accompanying motif. One of the record’s most enjoyable moments however takes place when the band pay tribute to fellow countrymen on ‘Take Me Over’, a dance-floor ready update of Men At Work’s ‘Down Under’. Zonoscope closes in true style with the ambitious 15-minute epic ‘Sun God’ where the band really let loose and explore the more experimental side of the electro-indie spectrum.
Only further listens will decide whether Zonoscope reaches the heights of In Ghost Colours but in the mean time all you can do is bask in the hazy mirage of sun-kissed electronics that make up a record that more than deserves any pre-release hype it may have received.
From James Smyllie.