Zonoscope, the third album from the Aussie new wave dance band finds Cut Copy in familiar territory but with an upgraded and more focused aesthetic than on previously celebrated second album In Ghost Colours.
The band have always embraced ’80s influences but this time around those signifiers (particularly Talking Heads and the Fleetwood Mac of that era) are unashamedly celebrated. Classic ’80s synth-pop forms the basis for much of Zonoscope and the result is a tracklisting of hypnotic and engaging songs with nods to AM radio hits.
In Ghost Colours’ standout track was undoubtedly ‘Hearts On Fire’, a squelchy club number with rave-tastic vocal samples that exploded into your brain in primary colours. There’s much more of that going on this time around. Ditching some of the more psychedelic and intangible production techniques, Zonoscope is more of an instant album, a better album with more direct rhythms and arrangements. Still, new-wave sensibilities and guitar still course through the band’s veins but the overall effect is a gliding listen through the very best amalgamation of pop and electro as played by a live band.
Key cuts include ‘Take Me Out’, with its Men At Work-aping melodies, the twinning of throbbing synths and kaleidoscopic guitar lines on opener ‘Need You Now’, the exalting chants and woodblock percussion of ‘Where I’m Going’, the tribal dance-funk of ‘Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution’ and the 15-minute closing track ‘Sun God’. Any of the 11 tracks on Zonoscope could be a highlight.
“Take me on a journey, with the rhythm in my feet”, goes a lyric in the aforementioned ‘Blink..’ and if that’s the band’s ethos this time around, it’s achieved with vigour and substance.