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Cut Copy Zonoscope Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

A third long-play set likely to sound great come this summer’s festival season.

Ian Wade 2011

Melbourne’s Cut Copy first came to attention to UK audiences with their Bright Like Neon Love album in 2004, mostly due to support slots with the likes of Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. Despite still keeping a fairly low profile here since, they’ve become big news in their native Australia where their last album – 2008’s In Ghost Colours – shot straight to the top of the albums chart. They’ve since started to make their mark in the States, and today they’re pretty much the star act on the indispensible Modular label.

With the original trio of Dan Whitford, Tim Hoey and Mitchell Dean Scott now a quartet with the addition of bassist Ben Browning, the band here present a third album aimed at consolidating the success and goodwill gained after In Ghost Colours – one of the finest records of its kind from the past few years. Recorded and produced by the band in their homeland before being mixed by Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter), Zonoscope acts as a comedown to the previous high of IGC, adding more percussion and having a mildly psychedelic air about its proceedings.

This 11-tracker touches on all the key references of the past 30 years – a Tom Tom Club feel is thrown into the mix on Pharaohs & Pyramids, while Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution could be a perkier LCD Soundsystem. Starting off superbly with Need You Now, which sounds like OMD all future’d up and taken down a rave, the Andy McCluskey-ness of Whitford’s voice later makes the jolly glam thud beneath Where I’m Going sound not unlike OMD’s latter-day cheesier period. This is All We’ve Got bounds into Doves dimensions, with an in-and-out sway akin to the Manchester band’s more windswept moments.

Elsewhere, Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat is further proof that Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night still seems to be a key album for the dance set down under, and closer Sun God chugs into a 15-minute odyssey. A flimsy Rapture-fronted-by-Bobby Gillespie rap bit about a quarter of the way through doesn’t help it, but it nevertheless builds into a propulsive monster going through phases of sound emanation, man.

While not quite the amazing leap that Cut Copy made from Bright Like Neon Love to In Ghost Colours, Zonoscope is by no means a bad album. But it is one that will probably sound better when wafting across a field during festival season.

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