Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 1/6/09.
With the resurgence of electro-pop coming into the indie music world, one of the key bands to lead this resurgence is the Melbourne, Australia trio of Cut Copy. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Dan Whitford, bassist/guitarist/sampling performer Tim Hoey, and drummer Mitchell Scott. Cut Copy are a band that mixes rhythmic synth-pop with the dance-punk styles of the DFA label bands. 2004's Bright Like Neon Lights that featured former bassist/keyboardist Bennett Foddy received good reviews from critics though Foddy's departure after the release did force Cut Copy to become a trio. After a DJ mix compilation in 2006, the band returned in 2008 with their sophomore release with help from renowned electronic producer Tim Goldsworthy of the LCD Soundsystem and the DFA label. The result isn't just the band's best album but one of 2008's best dance records entitled In Ghost Colours.
Written and performed by Cut Copy with production by Cut Copy and Tim Goldsworthy, In Ghost Colours is an album that features hypnotic synthesizer melodies, breaking rhythms, house sound collages, and melodic pop hooks. With songs ranging from the melodic, accessible, and catchy pop songs to a few experimental instrumentals, it's an album that challenges the idea of dance music into being something more than just rhythms people can dance to. The result is overall, an album that really shows how much work it takes to create a consistent, enjoyable, and certainly mesmerizing album from Cut Copy.
The album opener Feel The Love arrives with swirling, shimmering layers of synthesizers with Dan Whitford's calm, earthy vocals with an acoustic guitar and a mid-tempo, rhythmic back beat from drummer Mitchell Scott. With Tim Hoey's throbbing, pulsating bass lines and hypnotic synthesizer melodies, it's an excellent album opener spurned by its layered production and bouncy arrangements of synthesizers. Out There On The Ice is a more disco-driven track with pulsating beats and rhythms led by its synthesizer. With its throbbing rhythms and beats, Whitford's cool vocals lead the way as it's a song that shimmers through its rhythm and hypnotic vocals along with house-style production of heavy synthesizers and beats. Lights And Music continues the album's house-drenched vibe with throbbing bass lines from Tim Hoey and thumping back beats by Mitchell Scott. With Whitford's funky guitar riffs and serene vocals, the track features a layer of fast, fuzzy synthesizer lines that drive the song into house territory.
We Fight For Diamonds is a one-minute instrumental suite of dreamy, ambient-like textures of guitar drones, soothing synthesizers, and layers of mixed vocal harmonies from the previous track. Unforgettable Season takes the drones from the previous track for an upbeat, throbbing song with Whitford's earthy, serene vocals. With its upbeat rhythms, washy guitars, and loopy bass lines, it's easily one of the best songs on the album with its shimmering layers of synthesizers, dance beats, and Whitford's vocals. Midnight Runner is a smooth, guitar-swirling track with Whitford's atmospheric vocals and airy production that is later followed by Hoey and Scott's thumping rhythm. A dreamier song with Whitford's reverb, melodic guitar that is an exploration of dance rhythms and ambient. So Haunted is an upbeat song with wailing guitar drones and Scott's hard-hitting beats as Whitford goes for a calm but intense vocal style. With its chorus filled with washy layers of guitar chimes, swirling synthesizers, and layered production, it has a unique structure of a shoegaze-style drone to dreamier textures which includes a house-style synthesizer bridge.
Voices In Quartz is another short instrumental suite at a minute, twenty-one seconds with soft, warbling synthesizer shimmers and noises of trains, cars, and such. Hearts On Fire is house-influenced track with hypnotic synthesizer shimmers, throbbing bass lines, and rhythmic beats as Whitford sings in a cool, serene vocal style. With its bass-synthesizer throbs and wails along with a saxophone solo, it's easily another standout cut while it's a re-recorded version from an EP done in the previous year. Far Away is an upbeat, synth-pop track with melodic synthesizer lines, thumping beats, and Whitford's high, calm vocals. With its melodic synthesizer spurts popping up along with a thumping bass track, it maintains its dance-like presentation. The twenty-nine second Silver Thoughts is a droning, scratchy guitar-driven instrumental with swirls that leads to the song Strangers In The Wind. The smooth, mid-tempo track with acoustic guitar accompaniment, swooning synthesizers, and Whitford's vocals is a calm track that features swirling drones and a thumping rhythm in the song's second half.
Visions is a one-minute, nine-second instrumental piece of windy drones and reverb synthesizers that swirls throughout the track until the second half features a throbbing, rumbling disco-like rhythm of bass drums and bass. Nobody Lost, Nobody Found arrives with its thumping disco-like bass lines, thumping back beats, and Whitford's smooth, calm vocals as he sings with his funky guitar riffs. With a shimmering synthesizer in the background, the song features a wonderful chorus that swoons along with its thumping, disco-like rhythm and a scratchy, synthesizer-driven bridge. The album closer is the three-minute instrumental Eternity One Night Only that starts off with droning, scratchy swirls of guitars and voices along with samples of people talking and such. Then it becomes this dreamy, acoustic-driven track with swooning vocals and enchanting string arrangements by synthesizers as it closes down with its droning swirls and distorted vocals.
In Ghost Colours is an extraordinary, hypnotic, and enjoyable album from Cut Copy. Thanks in part to Tim Goldsworthy's layered and atmospheric production, this is an album that certainly proves that dance and indie rock can still create something unique. Fans of indie-dance, dance-punk, or other non-mainstream forms of dance will certainly enjoy this while mainstream audiences should get a chance to hear this record since there's songs that are catchy. In the end, In Ghost Colours is a tremendous, soothing, and enchanting album from Cut Copy.
Cut Copy Reviews: (I Thought of Numbers) - (Bright Like Neon Love) - (Zonoscope)
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