Review: Cut Copy – Zonoscope

It would be difficult for me to hide that I’m a big Cut Copy fan. I’ve probably written about them three or four times in the short time that this blog has been going, and I’ve listened to them a whole lot more than that! But I can’t help it. There is something about their balls-out willingness to entertain in a record that I find tough not to give in to. So their new offering Zonoscope has got a lot to live up to.

Their previous two releases have been like fully mixed records: at times the little joining skits between the songs are as good as the songs themselves. Cut Copy have always made records you put on and listen to from start to finish; Zonoscope is no different, with the songs blending together to make a strong, atmospheric record.

The album kicks off with a soaring disco song in ‘Need You Now’ that has got more than a hint of New Wave about it. It also has the trademark Cut Copy whisps and flourishes to it. A good thing. Next in line is the first official single off the album that dropped back in November. When I first heard ‘Take Me Over’ I had high hopes for the album. It’s a decent pop song with a great bouncy bassline (pinched from Fleetwood Mac, but who cares?!). It is also incredibly difficult not to dance – or at the very least head bop – to. While it’s not the best song on the album, it will satisfy those of you who want to hear a pop-y, dance-y song early on.

When I first heard ‘Where I’m Going’, which was released as a taster for the album back at the end of summer, I wasn’t a fan at all. In the context of the album it definitely works now; the synth background reminds me of The Who and the song feels more complete within rather than outside of the album. ‘Blink & You’ll Miss A Revolution’ is an odd mix of the Cut Copy I know and some seemingly Tech / Dancehall-inspired verses. It sounds odd and, to be honest, it is rather. Not bad though, I should add.

‘Strange Nostalgia’ is one of the interludes that we have become accustomed to from In Ghost Colours and Bright Night Neon Love and it joins a more dance-y first half of the album a second half that seems to branch out a little more. ‘This Is All We’ve Got’ sounds like a song you would want to hear just as you go in from a night out, slowly bringing you back down to earth. ‘Alisa’, in contrast, draws on Prog and post-Rock influences to make something that soars around in your head. You definitely need the breather after it that ‘Hanging On To Every Heartbeat’ provides. It’s the laziest, most chilled back song on the album that slowly picks up and builds back up to to the four-on-the-floor pounding ‘Corner Of The Sky’.

The record ends on ‘Sun God’, a fifteen minute song that the band leaked just ahead of the album release. It draws from the album in different ways. There are aspects of Techno, straight up dance music, the smooth electronic music that Cut Copy have become known for and the layered vocals that feature throughout the record. It’s also like the record in that it goes through these different styles, mixed to perfection, ebbing and flowing its way through the different ideas that make up the climax of the album.

Sadly Zonoscope doesn’t quite live up to my elevated expectations. That’s not to say it’s not a good album, just than when I listen to it next to In Ghost Colours it feels like it’s lacking something; it’s less anthematic and ‘big’ in scope to listen to (ironically?). While songs like ‘Pharaohs & Pyramids’ and ‘Alisa’ stand out, the overall package just doesn’t have the same impact that their sophomore effort did. It’s a definite for people who are already fans, but if you’re introducing a friend to the band then start with In Ghost Colours. You just can’t beat it!

Buy it here.

Listen to: Cut Copy – Alisa [Buy]

File next to: Somewhere in between New Order and Daft Punk. Also near Dragonette, Friendly Fires and all things Kitsuné.

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