In Ghost Colours was a unique take on electronic dance-rock, with light, catchy melodies backed by thick textures of bass, guitar and analog synthesizers.
Cut Copy’s new album, Zonoscope, is a more mature response to In Ghost Colours.
Although staying true to its electro-pop roots, Cut Copy has created music that might be more accessible to listeners.
Zonoscope draws the listener in with entrancing rhythms and pulsating guitars, and keeps them listening with unexpected flashes of synth magic.
The opening track, “Need You Now,” hooks listeners with a heavy bass and light keyboard work beneath front man Dan Whitman’s voice and.
It is reminiscent of tracks from ‘80s pop bands like the Talking Heads.
Though six minutes long, this catchy, multi-layered track is the perfect introduction to the album.
With the influence of mixer Ben Allen, who has worked with bands such as Matt and Kim and Animal Collective, Zonoscope spans an eclectic 11 tracks.
You can hear Allen’s influence throughout the album. “This Is All We’ve Got” is reminiscent of Animal Collective’s “Taste,” beginning with bright synth effects and hazy vocals.
Whitman’s distinct voice and the weightless layering of sounds, however, help maintain the same uncluttered sound Cut Copy introduced with In Ghost Colours.
An effortless combination of relaxation and rhythm, carried over from In Ghost Colours, will keep fans of Cut Copy’s previous album listening.
Tracks like “Where I’m Going” and “Take Me Over” showcase bouncy melodies over more complicated drum beats and synth patterns.
The construction of these tracks lends a danceable vibe to the music.
The synths in particular add a twisted, ‘80s verve.
Listeners will be reminded of Cut Copy’s roots in the former decade with this album.
Aural nods to bands like Men At Work are present throughout Zonoscope.
“Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution,” an infectious track infused with heavy drum beats and fresh electro sonics, almost sounds like a collaborative work with Colin Hay.
While channeling songs from the 80s, Cut Copy keeps its distinct sound with unexpected moments of textural clarity and genuine breaks from its intense electro-pop sound.
With shimmering synths and wordless vocals, the song is a break from the complexity of the preceding tracks.
The two-minute mixture of dreamy instrumentals smoothly transitions from the super-sweet ending of “Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution” and melts into future tracks such as “This Is All We’ve Got.”
Cut Copy is less successful when straying far from its indie-pop roots.
“Alisa” is the least complex track on the album, with the guitar as the dominant instrument.
Although decorated with swaying electric additions for a powerful texture, “Alisa” fails to deliver the same energy or captivating quality as the other tracks do.
And similarly sedated in tempo, “Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat” is a more successful exploration of simple sounds, carrying the audience into a sea of swaying synths and cool, catchy melodies.
The album ends with a 15-minute track, “Sun God.” For an hour-long album, having the closing song take up nearly a quarter of it seems an ambitious endeavor.
Lengthy as it is, however, “Sun God” concentrates all of Cut Copy’s best elements into one track.
The bursting electronic intro, which continues underneath the ghostly reiterations of “love won’t be enough,” eases you into a hypnotizing 15 minutes.
“Sun God” is still less captivating than shorter, catchier tracks like “Need You Now” and “Where I’m Going,” but for a listening experience during which you simply want to get lost in the music, the track is perfect.
Slated to play at Coachella, Cut Copy has added more facets to its music, and such tonal and instrumental variation will likely enhance its stage performance.
Though it lacks some of the freshness of In Ghost Colours, the experimentation of Zonoscope yields an album that successfully hybridizes electro-pop, classic rock and indie rock like few who have come before.