If Cut Copy had 24 albums I would probably listen to Cut Copy all day and all night all the time…as it is hardly a cycle goes by that I don’t hear all or parts of Bright Neon Like Love (2004), In Ghost Colours (2008) or Zonoscope (2011).
Though Melbourne-based Cut Copy is most often washed with the ‘referencing the ’80s’ brush I think it is more apt to say the ‘reference’ is less by way of the [film versions] of Less Than Zero than The Informers — a time and place that never existed removed by memory. And while Cut Copy’s hooks and basslines are superficially poppy, the intentionally stuttering four and eight count measures are demanding of engaged listening.
Zonoscope in particular seems symphonic in the way it is presented as an arc, even without some of the ambient noise segues so prevalent on In Ghost Colours. If IGC was lyrically about the limitations of primary relationships to conquer doubt and isolation, Zonoscope is immersed diametrically in stealthy hope and crushing disappointment that is more internally oriented/externally directed.
Although these three albums are very distinct — mostly owing to the decreasing emphasis on guitars to propel melodies — Cut Copy’s mainstay continues to be danceable, or at least move-able, complicated synth pop of incredible harmonics and density. Dan Whitford is able to pack an epic amount of yearning and escalation into both arrangements and vocals; the devastating release of Hanging on to Every Heartbeat begins at the 2:00 mark of the 4:30 song. The descant, and the change in meaning of the chorus, almost makes me sick it’s so upsetting, and that’s a pretty good shake-up from what begins so cheerfully.
Zonoscope re-presents Cut Copy in a sort of Symbolist ethic, with an interest in the macabre and in hermetic, already-nostalgic technology. Here is a link to listen to Hanging onto Every Heartbeat. Also Cut Copy will play out at the Firestone in Orlando on October 1!
Though Keane is mostly known in the U.S. for the single “Bend and Break” from 2004’s Hopes and Fears, the 2006 more electronics-driven follow-up, Under the Iron Sea, is also a pretty good album. I had only heard UtIS on iTunes and dataheaven.us and so had not until recently (when I saw it in the library) become aware of the fantastic cover design(s) by Sanna Annukka.