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Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | Modular

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Cut Copy’s 2008 album In Ghost Colours was a triumph of late-2000s dance-rock, combining strands of new wave, synth pop, disco, and French house into a glittering, streamlined display of how to make music that was equally adept at getting crowds moving in a club and breaking hearts over headphones late at night. It’s an understatement to say that the follow-up had a lot to live up to, and for the most part, Zonoscope is up to the challenge. There isn’t a single weak track to be found, and though could have easily done so with no side effects, the group didn’t just remake Ghost, they made some subtle alterations here and there to their approach. The opening track "Need You Now" is emblematic of the changes in the group’s sound. Dan Whitford's vocals are more out front, the synths are warmer sounding, and the overall sound is peppier and happier. Where Ghost was a late-night, rain-slicked city streets kind of album at heart, Zonoscope is more of a Technicolor, summer day kind of experience. The tropical drum fills on “Take Me Over,” the impossibly hooky chanted vocals and glam rock beat of “Where I’m Going,” the occasional acoustic guitar that pops up, and the rich vocal harmonies all provide a lightness that the group hadn’t really shown much before. When Cut Copy aren’t beaming sunshine straight out of the speakers, they can still conjure up thick clouds of electric melancholy, as on the brief but swooningly pretty "Strange Nostalgia for the Future" or the midtempo soft rock ballad “Hanging on Every Heartbeat.” They also show that the hazy, hard-edged shoegaze sound of “So Haunted” (from Ghost) was no fluke, as “This Is All We Got” and “Alisha” both sound like they could be early Ride singles (only with fewer guitars and more Xanadu-sounding synths). And their foray into vaguely political sloganeering on “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution” would make Heaven 17 proud. The only thing that keeps Zonoscope from being the juggernaut that In Ghost Colours was, is that it lacks a song as drop-dead brilliant as “Hearts on Fire” (though “Where I’m Going” comes close) and it includes the clunky, somewhat corny-sounding “Corner of the Sky,” which comes off as a bit too Frankie Goes to Hollywood to stand up to the greatness that surrounds it. One tiny misstep doesn’t derail the album, though, and Zonoscope ends up being a very worthy successor to In Ghost Colours. Thanks to its beauty, warmth, and top-rate songwriting, Cut Copy remain atop the pile of dance-rock groups in 2011, right next to LCD Soundsystem. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Electronic - Released January 1, 2008 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
In Ghost Colours announces itself, calmly but majestically, with a wash of hazy voices and fluttering keyboards giving way to crystal-clear acoustic strums, languid indie pop vocals, a sturdy dance-rock groove, pulsating electro-disco synths, swirling Caribou-style psychedelics, and an ethereal, vocoded chorus melody. Squeezing all of that into one song -- the effervescent "Feel the Love" -- is an ambitious move: in most hands it would come out sounding like a bewildering mess but Cut Copy manage to keep it light, breezy, and utterly ebullient. Even more impressive is that they're able to replicate the trick repeatedly across this remarkably assured sophomore album. Colours boasts at least a half-dozen potential summer anthems for dancefloors and headphones alike, seamlessly strung together with subdued interstitial mood pieces that help make it more of a nuanced work than a straightforward collection of relentlessly upbeat dance jams. Undeniably, though, the dance jams are at the heart of the album, from the unstoppably glittery opening trio (leading up to the anthemic slow-burn disco of single "Lights and Music") to the rough-edged rock drive of "So Haunted" to the pure synth pop bliss of "Far Away." Indeed, this is in many ways a perfect summation of the dynamic, multifaceted, hipster-associated independent dance music of the 2000s, a motley interweaving of pop, rock, and electronic dance elements into a kaleidoscopic array of interconnected styles, some strands of which have been summarily, imprecisely tagged ("disco-punk," "electro-house," "new rave,") but which as a whole remain resolutely, gloriously nebulous and undefined. (Though nevertheless undeniably prevalent, and never more so than in 2008, following triumphant runs by LCD Soundsystem, Justice, and Simian Mobile Disco.) Cut Copy's music bears all the prominent hallmarks of its era: giddily omnivorous stylistic appropriation, a sensuous, sybaritic (though not, in their case, seedy) demeanor, and the distinct evocation of bygone decades, most palpably the ubiquitous post-punk/post-disco '80s, without succumbing to the pitfalls of overzealous eclecticism, empty hedonism, sugary glut, and blatant derivativeness. Or rather, they do show traces of all of these things, but they play each one off as a strength, always in moderation, and never to the detriment of the music. The eclecticism is there but it's fluid and cohesive rather than distractingly showy; their influence-dogging plays like affectionate homage rather than pointless mimicry; there's an abundance of gleaming, even gaudy surfaces, but they're just too rapturously enticing to entertain qualms about superficiality. It surely helps that they have one of the primary architects of this sprawling scene, the DFA's Tim Goldsworthy, on board as a producer and mixer. More importantly though, beneath its perfectly formed surfaces this is truly an album of songs -- a surprisingly rare thing in this milieu -- with simple but resonant melodies, carried by Dan Whitford's appealingly casual delivery, which help alleviate a slight tendency toward sonic sameness. This is evident not only on the gentler guitar-based numbers, like the loping "Unforgettable Season" and the oddly country-inflected "Strangers in the Wind," which temporarily scale back the dancefloor euphorics, but the out-and-out burners as well, combining with the peppy basslines and nagging chorus hooks to create something all the more transcendent. To be sure, In Ghost Colours is a triumph of craftsmanship rather than vision -- a synthesis and refinement of existing sounds rather than anything dramatically new and original -- but it is an unalloyed triumph nonetheless, and one of the finest albums of its kind. © K. Ross Hoffman /TiVo
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Electronic - Released August 21, 2020 | Cutters Records

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Electronic - Released September 22, 2017 | Astralwerks (US1A)

Since starting out as an icy new wave band with synths, Cut Copy have progressively increased the temperature and size of their albums. Their fifth record, 2017's Haiku from Zero, is their biggest and warmest yet. The Australian quartet have definitely shed the last trappings of the cold-to-the-touch synth pop sound they perfected on 2008's In Ghost Colours, reined in some of the excesses of 2011's Zonoscope, and sidestepped most of the '90s influences that were all over 2013's Free Your Mind to make their most straightforward, easy-to-swallow album yet. Cut Copy employ synths with a light touch, keep the beats driving in a straight line, and don't stray very far from the kind of melodies they've utilized in the past. Almost any song here could have been on a previous album; some of them, like the jaunty "Airborne," would have been highlights. What that means is that this is the first album that hasn't been a surprise, the first that feels like the band is following a template instead of an interesting tangent. None of which is to say that Haiku is somehow bland or less enjoyable in any way. Cut Copy's mastery of their sound means that the album is supremely confident, and the narrow focus they employ means the songs hit like concentrated bursts of sunny, danceable pop. Tracks like the bouncy, guitar-heavy "No Fixed Destination" and the funky "Counting Down" sound like the work of a band whose members know they have everything locked down tight and they aren't afraid to strut a little. The rest of the album, bar one track, is destined to be a dancefloor killer, with propulsive beats, soaring vocals, and shimmering synths. It's an impressive display of craft and energy meeting in the middle and creating something that's indisputably fun. Only the last track on the record, "Tied to the Weather," takes a break from being cool and cocky to get a little melancholy. The chopped-up vocals, chilly synth lines that build to a jagged climax, and especially Dan Whitford's wistful singing sound like they were helicoptered in from another album. It's an interesting last blue note for a record that's otherwise made up of sun-splashed sounds and confident swagger. Haiku from Zero may be Cut Copy's most Cut Copy album yet, full of hooky songs and breathlessly danceable songs. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2004 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

The Australian dance-pop group Cut Copy, fronted by multi-instrumentalist/DJ/graphic designer Dan Whitford, ends their stellar debut album with "A Dream," a mellow come down from a record scattershot with retro-dance and rock ideas fitted together with ebullient grooves. Perhaps it would have been better served as an introduction to what is such a free flowing, unrestrained electronic dance record. Bright Like Neon Love -- and by extension Whitford -- is so enamored with simple ideals of dance music, it feels like a dreamy, unconscious state of hypnotic rhythms designed purely for easy listening. Conversely, in no way does this strong rookie effort ever really test the listener -- rarely does Whitford expand beyond the confines of catchy synth loops and simplistic, manipulated vocals -- but as a perfectionist of the pop music craft, any one of these nine main tracks (there are two interludes; and "That Was Just a Dream" and "Zap Zap" are really just one song) could have appeared on a Kylie or Madonna record as sure-fire hit singles. At times the rock star in Whitford seems to supersede the '80s pop fanatic, most notably the infectious synth-meets-guitars riff on "Going Nowhere," the largely instrumental "The Twilight" and the near alternative rock/post-grunge of "Bright Neon Payphone," yet the album's greatest strength is how Whitford remains on an even keel throughout, almost melting down his favorite rock and dance elements to their most simplistic state to make them more palatable. As jarring as switching from synths to guitars can be, Bright Like Neon Love remains consistently a pop record. The lyrics and vocals also play a major factor in making Cut Copy's sound so easy on the ears, as Whitford tends to not sing with much voracity or even mild interest. On "Saturdays," he barely even mutters the rather inane opening lines "When I'm looking for you/I call your number but I can't get through" before the synth-vocoder backing vocals kick in (a common inclusion throughout the album) and the song transforms from a more effervescent version of Stardust's "Music Sounds Better with You" to an uncontained explosion of fuzzy synths, handclaps, and sampled loops. The only other moment on this record that equals the untethered fun of the aforementioned songs' second half is the thumping transition into "Zap Zap," which serves as the album's major landmark. Propelled by rapidly moving phase changes and synth vocals, it's Whitford's only true "DJ" moment on the record -- as he finds the perfect beat and feels content to bask in it for over a couple of minutes. © Erik Leijon /TiVo
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Electronic - Released July 18, 2014 | Modular

After the release of their icy and heavily '80s-inspired In Ghost Colours in 2008, Cut Copy warmed up and expanded their sound to the point where they almost seem like a completely different band. 2011's Zonoscope was almost excessively bright and extroverted, with songs like "Where I'm Going" sounding like Jock Jams in comparison to the introspectively moody sound the band had previously established. Their 2013 album, Free Your Mind, is even bigger sounding and warmer. Taking tons of inspiration from the late-'80s and early-'90s club scene in the U.K. and touching on everything from the Hacienda-ready acid house to the thumping piano house of groups like Black Box, the album is a danceable love letter to the era. Almost every move the group makes is instantly familiar to anyone with any interest in that time period, but the band add more than enough of their own personality, as well as advanced skill at mixing and matching moods and feels, to keep it from being an empty exercise in nostalgia. Call it a full exercise instead. Influences and inspirations aside, what makes the album work is the sense of joy and upbeat emotion that the band, and especially vocalist Dan Whitford, inject into every nook of every song. Starting off with "Free Your Mind," a bongo and gospel backing vocal-filled empowerment jam so soft and fuzzy that even Primal Scream at their most "Come Together" dippy might find a bit much, and going from there, the record is light as a shiny helium balloon. Like that balloon, it doesn't lose its bouncy buoyancy until the very end. After all, the percolating house trax that should fill dancefloors (like the very Pet Shop Boys-sounding "Footsteps"), higher-than-the-sun electro-pop ("Dark Corners and Mountain Tops," which is like ELO gone full disco, "Take Me Higher"), and slowly grooving songs that are perfect fodder for late-night revelry (the K-Klass sampling "Let Me Show You Love"), the album ends with a bit of a stinker. "Walking in the Sky" comes off like the Verve at their U2-loving worst; overly preachy and obvious with its heart in the right place, but an annoyingly simple tune to go with it. This stumble leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but one that can be easily removed by doubling back and listening to a great song like the uplifting "We Are Explorers," that also has a message, and with it, a propulsive beat, a sparkling melody, and shimmering synths. So skip "Walking" and the rest goes down as smoothly as a well-mixed, neon-colored cocktail, or four, and will leave you woozy and reeling from the music's warm embrace. Cut Copy may have left behind the monochromatic brilliance of their early work, but the explosion of colors they've added, like Jackson Pollock on a bender, has only made their growth more interesting and enriching. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

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Electronic - Released June 26, 2020 | Cutters Records

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Electronic - Released January 1, 2013 | Modular

After the release of their icy and heavily '80s-inspired In Ghost Colours in 2008, Cut Copy warmed up and expanded their sound to the point where they almost seem like a completely different band. 2011's Zonoscope was almost excessively bright and extroverted, with songs like "Where I'm Going" sounding like Jock Jams in comparison to the introspectively moody sound the band had previously established. Their 2013 album, Free Your Mind, is even bigger sounding and warmer. Taking tons of inspiration from the late-'80s and early-'90s club scene in the U.K. and touching on everything from the Hacienda-ready acid house to the thumping piano house of groups like Black Box, the album is a danceable love letter to the era. Almost every move the group makes is instantly familiar to anyone with any interest in that time period, but the band add more than enough of their own personality, as well as advanced skill at mixing and matching moods and feels, to keep it from being an empty exercise in nostalgia. Call it a full exercise instead. Influences and inspirations aside, what makes the album work is the sense of joy and upbeat emotion that the band, and especially vocalist Dan Whitford, inject into every nook of every song. Starting off with "Free Your Mind," a bongo and gospel backing vocal-filled empowerment jam so soft and fuzzy that even Primal Scream at their most "Come Together" dippy might find a bit much, and going from there, the record is light as a shiny helium balloon. Like that balloon, it doesn't lose its bouncy buoyancy until the very end. After all, the percolating house trax that should fill dancefloors (like the very Pet Shop Boys-sounding "Footsteps"), higher-than-the-sun electro-pop ("Dark Corners and Mountain Tops," which is like ELO gone full disco, "Take Me Higher"), and slowly grooving songs that are perfect fodder for late-night revelry (the K-Klass sampling "Let Me Show You Love"), the album ends with a bit of a stinker. "Walking in the Sky" comes off like the Verve at their U2-loving worst; overly preachy and obvious with its heart in the right place, but an annoyingly simple tune to go with it. This stumble leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but one that can be easily removed by doubling back and listening to a great song like the uplifting "We Are Explorers," that also has a message, and with it, a propulsive beat, a sparkling melody, and shimmering synths. So skip "Walking" and the rest goes down as smoothly as a well-mixed, neon-colored cocktail, or four, and will leave you woozy and reeling from the music's warm embrace. Cut Copy may have left behind the monochromatic brilliance of their early work, but the explosion of colors they've added, like Jackson Pollock on a bender, has only made their growth more interesting and enriching. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Electronic - Released May 8, 2020 | Cutters Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2004 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

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Electronic - Released August 5, 2020 | Cutters Records

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House - Released September 18, 2020 | Cutters Records

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Electronic - Released October 20, 2017 | Astralwerks (US1A)

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Electronic - Released September 1, 2014 | Modular

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Dance - Released January 1, 2003 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

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Electronic - Released November 18, 2020 | Cutters Records

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Electronic - Released November 9, 2018 | Astralwerks

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Electronic - Released November 1, 2018 | Cutters Records