Monday, March 31, 2008

Cut Copy 2.0

Amidst the predictable wave of music blog hype, Melbourne, Australia’s contribution to indie dance music, Cut Copy, has released its sophomore album, In Ghost Colours. Although still technically unreleased in the States (the scheduled date is April 8th), the album is available for purchase on iTunes, as of March 22nd, and can be streamed on the band’s MySpace page (or, if you’re in Australia, you can get it there too).

For those unfamiliar to the band, In Ghost Colours will serve as a perfect introduction. Stylistically, the band draws from the dance pop traditions of the 1980’s, blending the electronic with the organic to produce a unique effervescence. If you want comparisons, think New Order, Depeche Mode, or even the Cars. Thankfully, Cut Copy, instead of merely imitating their predecessors, has taken this genre to its logical progression, with more layers to their sound and a more integrated approach to dance music. With this in mind, it doesn’t take long to discern modern DJ sensibilities behind their song craft; they shape blips and beeps into irresistible pop hooks with the expertise of beat-crafting EMT’s (Read: they have an acute sense of the “DP pulse”), and blend songs into each other seamlessly. This quality, blended with razor sharp, New Wave style guitar and your traditional airy synth accompaniment, imbues the music with a fresh aesthetic and addictive hip-gyrating properties. Like New Order, on another note, Cut Copy’s music serves just as well for make out seshes as it does for dance party extravaganzas. Just thought I’d throw that one out there…

And now, I’ll focus my attention more on the album at hand. In Ghost Colours…an interesting and thought-provoking name, but don’t think for too long—You’d be giving them more credit than (I think) they are even looking for. The music on this album falls far from the label of “heady,” and, unlike a lot of the post-punk bands Cut Copy draws upon for inspiration (e.g. Joy Division→New Order), they don’t care and don’t even aspire to such “heights.” As a progression from their debut album, Bright Like Neon Lights, In Ghost Colours marks a refinement to their approach. The songs are cleaner and more concise in their pop structure, and vocals take on a decidedly more central focus. While Dan Whitford, the group’s mastermind and chief vocalist, has some pretty decent pipes, the intent doesn’t seem to extend much beyond emphasizing the comforting and emotionally expressive qualities of the human voice; the lyrics are fairly banal, and primarily concern, believe it or not, love and dance music. This is perhaps most plainly evident on the opening track, “Feel the Love,” which is anchored by rhythmic acoustic guitar strumming and particularly melodic vocals. For those of you who are looking more for those electro-pop gems check out “Out There On the Ice” and “Nobody Lost, Nobody Found,” both of which have killer hooks (just listen to that chorus on “Nobody Lost, Nobody Found”—“ah ha haa, burn in the face of love”). “Hearts on Fire,” a song that has actually been out there on the net for quite some time, also exemplifies their electronic mastery, and I particularly like the sampling of those early 90’s style female-shrieking noises. New Order’s influence can be plainly heard on this album (for those who are curious as to whether my comparison is legit) with songs like “Unforgettable Season” and “Midnight Runner” demonstrating Cut Copy’s bright, poppy tendencies (these are also the songs I was referring to, in part, with the “make-out sesh” suggestion).

Ultimately, with In Ghost Colours Cut Copy has delivered another new and exciting take on their own brand of electronic pop. While I normally wait to buy albums in physical form, I couldn’t resist the instant gratification of buying the album on iTunes. Take from that what you will.

1 comment:

Pan Tostado said...

and they released a boooomb extended mix a couple months ago. can be downloaded for free here:

you WILL weep when "never forget" floats over the airwaves. truth.

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