Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cut Copy - Zonoscope review

I recently saw Cut Copy live at the Parklife Feastival in Adelaide and they were, in a word, phenomenal.  Stellar set and lots of energy for a band who dresses (and dances) like someone's painfully awkward father (I am almost positive that the lead singer was doing the robot at one point).  The setlist consisted of mostly fan-friendly hits off of their previous album, In Ghost Colours, peppered with some new material.  I will be seeing them again shortly at the Laneway Festival and I am curious to see how the arrange the setlist this time around now that their new album, Zonoscope, will be released in early February.

Zonoscope is the third LP from Australian band Cut Copy, and has been one of the most anticipated releases in recent memory.  Some have even lauded it as the singular most important release of 2011, at least until some other quasi-notable buzzband releases some new material.  With the release of first single, "Where I'm Going", there has been quite a bit of speculation as to how this new album would sound.  Many believed that the single marked a distinct change in direction, away from electro-pop and into the jangly guitar dominated world of indie rock.  While "Where I'm Going" is definitely a sing-a-long stadium friendly track (complete with a "YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!" filled chorus), to me, it still sounded like the Cut Copy we've grown to know and love.

Zonoscope opens with "Need You Now", a slow burning thumper that builds with crescendos of twinkling synth accents and What follows is a perfect one-two punch of "Take Me Over" and "Where I'm Going", easily the most radio-friendly songs on the entire album.  From there you get a wide variety of songs ranging from tropical calypso music ("Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution"), to instrumental ("Strange Nostalgia For The Future"), to experimental introspective ("This Is All We've Got").  It seems to lack the overall cohesiveness that made their last album so enjoyable, at times coming across as uneven and disjointed, however tracks like "Alisa", "Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat" and "Corner Of The Sky" bring everything together at the albums close with strong melodies and dance-floor friendly hooks.

Overall, Zonoscope lacks a lot of the instantly likable songs that were present on In Ghost Colours.  While the new album still has a handful of tracks that seem primed for festivals and stadiums, the majority of the album lacks the flow of their previous releases, which was ultimately what made them so easy to listen to.  This is not to say that this album is inferior, in fact I think quite the opposite.  Zonoscope is a rewarding listen and incredibly enjoyable, as long as you're willing to give it a few spins all the way through before you make up your mind. 

Cut Copy - Where I'm Going

Cut Copy Zonoscope

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