February 27, 2011

Cut Copy - Zonoscope

From Cut Copy, there has always been a sense of instant satisfaction. Short songs off of In Ghost Colors and Bright Like Neon Love bombarded us with hooks that were impossible to forget. On Zonoscope, that instant catch is gone. For better of for worse, there’s a lot more going on.

The songs are no longer simple three-and-a-half minute dancehall anthems. This is immediately obvious as the opening track, Need You Now, makes you listen a little closer than normal. It sounds a familiar, but at the same time, a little different that usual Cut Copy. In other words it’s a reassuring start. After establishing that sense of comfort, the ridiculously catchy Take Me Over plays, and then that’s it. Things just get weirder.

Synthesizers are sharper and the music sounds a bit more spaceship-y. The distinctively retro song titles are replaced by names like Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution, which is, to be fair, still a great song, but a terrible name nonetheless. And with the disappearance of cool names like Bright Neon Payphone and Voices in Quartz comes the disappearance of that bright sound that Cut Copy used to have.

With Zonoscope, Cut Copy were trying to explore new areas their sound. Recording in an empty warehouse, they were trying to revamp and revitalize their music. Success in this regard could have been excellent, if they had pulled it off. Unfortunately, the new "explorative" moments are boring, bland, and uninteresting, and weigh down the effortless charm that Cut Copy radiates

However, Cut Copy still shine through this gooey “explorative” coating that has covered their sound. The dance pop veterans are so good at what they do that even when they try their hardest to not be themselves, you can still hear them. They probably could have smeared their sound in dogshit, and it still would have sounded good. Zonoscope doesn't do what it was likely supposed to do, but it's not bad. I like it.


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