As 99-cent songs pervade online music stores like the dollar menu at a Wendys drive-thru, its nice to come across complete albums worthy of an extra-value meal label.
Cut Copy concentrates on the whole and not the part on Zonoscope, the third LP from the Australian electro-pop four-piece. This album is a long form narrative, not a collection of short stories.
Zonoscope opens with Need You Now, a pop song doused with anticipation from the start. A crescendo of keyboard and percussion begins muddled and hypes up to Dan Whitfords despondent, catchy vocals. Hed sound just as comfortable singing a funeral dirge, but pasted over a soaring tempo and insular guitar riffs, his voice is the perfect juxtaposition to complete a panoramic track.
The rest of the album renders Need You Now an anomaly. Lots of synth-laced everything and tributes to the 80s, etc. (An image of Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop keeps popping in my head with every trippy blip.) But there are some rock elements that show their face from time to time, like on Where Im Going. Rock has faded from Cut Copys repertoire, however, compared to their first two albums.
Pharaohs&Pyramids is one of, if not the, best songs on Zonoscope. This house track has verve, uniting endless handclaps, cowbells and revving keyboards to keep your ears stimulated.
Producing a complete album is ideal, but a warning: some tracks get muddled together. Its hard to tell if thats a result of getting enveloped in the albums psychedelic tendencies or if they actually sound alike. Listen and youll understand.
Comparing Cut Copy to the field is tough because theyve influenced the electro-pop dance movement pretty significantly since the turn of the century. LCD Soundsystem is a well-known cousin that comes to mind, but Cut Copy came first. And while the recently departed LCD Soundsystem often relied on disjointed tone-deafness and punk tendencies, these guys rely on melody, and it serves them well.
No matter the track on Zonoscope, the dance element rules above all else. Whitford can sound lonely, sad and pathetic but its impossible not to bob a head and tap a foot and keep the bass turned up for a musical version of a 3D movie.