Cut Copy - 'Zonoscope' (UK Release: 7 Feb '11)
Cut Copy return with their third studio album, 'Zonoscope', the follow-up to their astonishing sophomore effort 'In Ghost Colours'. The sound remains in thrall to the 80s, but the band has expanded their sonic palette to include most ostensibly on this record Fleetwood Mac, Yes and Talking Heads. On the whole it works, with the album a far more cohesive affair, reflecting a group truly beginning to master their craft.
The record is more blissful, laid-back than their previous output. The synths have a warmer sound, lulling the listener with lovely harmonies. However, the danger is the record can become too stately and one-paced, which is indicative of the second half of the record.
Opener 'Need You Now' has all the elements of a classic Cut Copy song with its slow, hypnotic build-up growing in intensity before Dan Whitford’s lush vocals step into a gorgeous chorus. It’s followed by 'Take Me Over' and 'Where I’m Going', which display the great melodic chops that made their previous album such a success.
A fundamental problem with the album is that it’s frontloaded, reflected by the fact the first three songs have been released as singles. 'Zonoscope' loses momentum as a result in the second half, with only 'Alisa' and 'Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat' making their presence felt. While Whitford delivers his aim of a 15-minute track with 'Sun God', it feels like an unnecessary, unsatisfactory end to the record.
It was always going to be a mighty challenge to follow something as perfect as 'In Ghost Colours', which was my favourite record of 2008. 'Zonoscope' is a valiant attempt, which grows which each listen and may in the coming years be seen as an important transitional album for the band. Cut Copy deserve praise for level of their ambition, even though on occasion they fail to meet it.
STREAM: Cut Copy - Need You Now (Album Version) by modularpeople
STREAM: Cut Copy - Where I'm Going by cutcopymusic
Download 'Where I'm Going' for the price of your email address here. Purchase 'Zonoscope' at amazon.co.uk, iTunes etc.