Cut Copy
Zonoscope


3.0
good

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
January 20th, 2011 | 85 replies | 14,476 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cut Copy begin to lose their color.

It’s never been that hard to make dance music. Be competent with a synthesizer, be able to craft a reasonably bouncy melody, and make sure that four on the floor bump absolutely kicks, and you have a fairly decent chance of being able to make those feet move and the dollars flow in. Music in the second half of the ‘00s could very well said to be overly saturated with acts looking to cash in on the electro war that “D.A.N.C.E.” fired the first shot in, something that makes the cover of Cut Copy’s third album Zonoscope, New York City on the verge of being submerged by a massive waterfall, more than a bit ironic. But Cut Copy always seemed like they were playing electro less because it was in and more because, well, they were the best at it. In Ghost Colours was a classic in the genre because it had that which most of its compatriots scoffed at, namely substance and a depth that rewarded multiple listens. On its surface, Zonoscope is not that much different from what Cut Copy have staked their sound on. There’s a prevalence of synths and various bleeps and bloops that remind you the ‘80s never really died, Dan Whitford’s eternally optimistic, soulful tenor singing day-glo tenets like “all you need is a dream and a lover, too,” and hooks that don’t quit.

For all the similarities, though, Zonoscope nevertheless seems like a simpler record. First single “Where I’m Going” is a wonderful slice of Beach Boys-esque pop, but little else. The dark soundscapes and edgy instrumentals that occasionally broke up In Ghost Colours and made it such a fascinating journey are nixed, while otherwise solid electro pop tunes like “Pharaohs & Pyramids” and “Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat” are cheapened by sound effects and synthesizers that sound like they were recorded on an ancient Casio. Indeed, Zonoscope is at its best where it strips things down to the bare bones of songwriting, something Whitford and company long ago proved masters of. The one-two punch of “Need You Now” and “Take Me Over” is a combo most electro bands would kill for; Cut Copy toss it off effortlessly and then mask those same superb pop sensibilities with weak effects and distracting melodies that take away from the central hooks on a song like “Blink And You’ll Miss The Revolution.” Then there will be a song like “This Is All We’ve Got,” all hazy vibes and gorgeous guitar, and you’ll question why they felt the need to add those awful bass squelches to “Corner of the Sky” or why they decided to make “Sun God” essentially a fifteen-minute rave wank fest.

Of course, it’s tough to fault Zonoscope for sounding so dated right out of the box, because Cut Copy’s songwriting is really as strong as ever. Sure, there’s nothing as immediate as “Hearts on Fire” or as simply affecting as “Unforgettable Season,” but “Take Me Over” and “Alisa” are acceptable, if not fully satisfying, substitutes. The effortless transition that the drone of “Strange Nostalgia For The Future” brings to the cheesy bounce of “Blink And You’ll Miss The Revolution” and the post-punkish “This Is All We’ve Got” is the kind of bridge that regularly made In Ghost Colours such a complete album. Zonoscope is no less complete; rather, it seems like a lesser shade of its predecessor, the kind of album Cut Copy could make in their sleep but lacking that transcendent quality that so many similar bands swinging and missing. Great songs are a dime a dozen, and Cut Copy, frankly, are amassing a wealth of their own with tunes like the eleven here. It’s the great albums that are a little more elusive.



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user ratings (161)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Michael Philp (3.5)
Enjoyable synth-pop that doesn’t strive to be anything else. Well, except for “Sun God”, but w...


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2011



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i really liked this and then i listened to in ghost colours again

SeaAnemone
January 20th 2011



18752 Comments


say it ain't so, rudy

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2011



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i mean hey it's a good album but you know, not as good as i hoped. still recommended if you liked in ghost colours

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2011



14883 Comments


take me over is amazing so

kanecooper
January 20th 2011



630 Comments


I gave Ghost Colours a 3 so I probably won't even bother with this

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2011



23606 Comments


haven't heard the album yet but that album artwork is incredible

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

alachlahol
January 20th 2011



7422 Comments


i enjoyed this though it does breeze by without being very memorable QQ crying myself to sleep tonight

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 20th 2011



3743 Comments


heard this wasn't very good, i've been listening to in ghost colours a lot recently though and that album is so so good

Waior
January 20th 2011



11420 Comments


great cover

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
January 20th 2011



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is their best album yet! It's the one I've been waiting for them to make, tbh. Everytime I see them live, this is how they sound, not like Neon Love or Ghost Colours.

Digging: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days Of Abandon

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2011



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

then i suppose i'm not going to like their live show as much as i thought. i love in ghost colours

HighandDriving
January 20th 2011



3230 Comments


Why didn't you review this StreetlightRock? You would have done a much better job.

alachlahol
January 20th 2011



7422 Comments


their live show kicks the ass dont bother with these naysayers

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
January 20th 2011



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man, their live show is a fuckin' rave, so damn good. And thank you Driving but Rudy's review is fine even if I disagree =)

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2011



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

regardless i'll be seeing them at coachella and if its rave-esque i'll be pissing myself with joy

TakeWarning
January 21st 2011



24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Worth a listen but not as good as the first 10 tracks on In Ghost Colours

Mordecai.
January 21st 2011



8255 Comments


great live band. rudy, you are going to fuck shit up at coachella. wish i lived in the US.

Sleaper
January 21st 2011



3132 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

great review... and coachella...*JIZZ PANTS*

i thought the album was ok but nothing amazing, where im going is a terrible terrible terrible song.. but the rest is decent.

Digging: SpaceGhostPurrp - B.M.W. 2: Intoxxxicated

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
January 21st 2011



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, the borrowed bassline from Take Me Over is so damn cool.

AggravatedYeti
January 21st 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

we'll see rudy. though I tend to agree with you on this type of muzak.



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