Under Review: Cut Copy – Zonoscope

It took a little time and some stylistic refinement, but Cut Copy has finally become one of the most essential modern dance bands. Or at least they were until they started showing signs of yet another creative change just last year. The release of a swirling single, “Where I’m Going,” found the Australian electro-poppers moving toward a thoroughly psychedelic realm. That hinting has turned into a full-on experience on the group’s third album, Zonoscope. Influences from ‘80s favorites like New Order and the Pet Shop Boys remain, but they’ve been joined by atmospheric transitions, extended intros and more rocking song structures. After a slow buildup with the airy “Need You Now,” Zonoscope really kicks in with “Take Me Over.” The album’s best tracks are the ones that uncannily balance synthesized patterns with jangly bubblegum. To that end, “Alisa” and a reworked version of “Where I’m Going” are the finest examples of Cut Copy’s latest sound.

Cut Copy might be dipping their toes into more rock-oriented territory, but there are plenty of straight-up dance tracks to go around. The mid-album couplet of “Pharaohs & Pyramids” and “Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution” makes for an exciting perk before the sleepy interlude “Strange Nostalgia For The Future.” Zonoscope winds down with “Sun God,” which rages on for just over 15 minutes. Such a composition might seem egregious and indulgent, but the tune stays captivating the whole way through. Though they could’ve just as easily scaled back on that track’s length to make room for a few more tunes, it’s a fitting close to a record that serves as a strong turning point in the band’s increasingly impressive career.

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~ by E. on February 7, 2011.

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