Review Summary: 80's revival at its absolute best.
What happens when you mix upbeat indie music with smooth and catchy synthesizer dance music? Many would say this combo is impossible, but be assured it is not, the Australian trio that is Cut Copy can prove that with their sophomore release, In Ghost Colours
. This crossbred album of synthesizer glory draws obvious influences from the new wave phenomenon of the 80’s. While the album is consistently fun and upbeat, it also contains plenty of raw emotion that could only be put in place by a band that truly cares about the music they create. This emotion packs a strong punch that just keeps drawing the listener back in for more of this excellent collection of fifteen dream inspiring songs to be embraced in its warmth, like a roaring fireplace on a cold winter day.
The album itself has a unique structure to its tracks, it has songs of normal track length, about four minutes give or take a few, but every couple of songs there are short little breaks of instrumental songs that are usually just one hundred percent synthesizer noise. An artist putting intermissions in their albums is not unheard of, but what is interesting about the style used on In Ghost Colours
is the randomness of where these divides are placed. There are no set patterns, they just seem to be wherever they fell in place, perhaps a cut/copy and paste format. Pun intended.
From the very begins the album starts out strong, opening with the almost obnoxiously happy song “Feel the Love.” The song because with a bunch of strange noises and vocal glitches it is difficult not to hear a hint of Animal Collective added to this already unique formula. Things quickly change course though when a light layer of acoustic guitar breaks its way in with accompanying high-pitched group vocals, slightly masked by the danceable beat and synthesizer. The scattered bits of robotic vocals add a decent touch to the song. The mood of this song though is instantly continued and built upon in the following track “Out There on the Ice.” The beat and overall song arrangement is changed, but the tone and message remain untouched. The lyrics, “yes, no, maybe is all I need to hear from you/if things go crazy, she's lost herself and lost to you,” are undoubtedly reminiscent of what one might find being sang in the local bar in the 80’s, the sound in general being like that of M83’s album Saturdays=Youth
, released this same year. These first tracks are outstanding representations of these youngsters know their way around a synthesizer.
This brings us to the first little intermission, “We Fight for Diamonds,” a loud and gradually building sound of roaring noises that leads directly into the next song, “Unforgettable Season.” This track is the most poppy and clearest sang of all the album, the song seems more like an attempt to squeeze in a radio-friendly song rather than their normal insanely catchy and emotionally driven songs prior. “Unforgettable Season” unfortunately becomes redundant as it becomes very forgettable in comparison to “So Haunted,” easily one of the strongest tracks of the album; “So Haunted” jumps straight to the point with its quick sliding guitar riff with of course the sweet synthesizers that make up the building blocks of Cut Copy. The chorus of the song changes pace with the loudly sang, “Get so haunted/I misunderstood tonight,” lyrics that really do not make sense, but do not really have to in order to be enjoyable.
Throughout the entire course of In Ghost Colours
Cut Copy makes no extremely obvious mistakes, the songs remains consistent and faithful to the band’s sound, while slight twists are added to keep interest for the full fifty minutes. The club worthy song “Hearts On Fire” use heavily sampled pieces in its beat to give it a dance floor feel that is feverously infectious, and the slower paced “Far Away” packs in the emotion the band tries to convey of distant loves both gained and lost. All just pieces in the full body of work that is In Ghost Colours
, an album that puts Cut Copy far ahead of all the other 80’s revival bands that just cannot figure out how to embody that time period in their music, something this band has long ago mastered.