Cut Copy
Haiku From Zero


3.3
great

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
September 29th, 2017 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You've gotta give up the things you love to make it better.

“Standing In The Middle Of The Field,” the opener to Cut Copy’s fifth album Haiku From Zero, finds the Australian electro pop pioneers in an oddly contemplative place. “Find love, build it on sand,” Dan Whitford says, talking more than singing. “Find love, swinging in the wind / watching it some more, build it back again / find love, lying on the shore / driving out to sea, lost forever more / find love, strangest of things / but chaos inside, peace that it brings.” The plink-plunk of the melodic backbeat is a constant, morose rainfall, the handclaps strangely muted, the rhythm rolling onward seemingly on pure inertia. “Watch me slowly fall apart / you’ve gotta give up the things you love to make it better,” Whitford sings as the chorus kicks in and slow burns to a peaceful bit of euphoria: the equilibrium when the pill wears off in a haze of contentment, but before next day’s anxieties kick in. The way it soars to the stratosphere, a touch of melancholy in its arc, is somewhat inexplicable, hooking onto something deep and profound, building and releasing tension in a way you can only usually get marooned in the middle of the dancefloor. This sort of spatial songwriting is something that has always set Cut Copy apart from their peers – Holy Ghost!, Miami Horror, Empire of the Sun, etc. etc. – but on Haiku From Zero, it’s the exception rather than the rule. Shortly after this comedown, it’s back to things as usual.

“Counting Down” is a more fitting template, all precise bursts of jangly guitar, a liberal dose of studio effects and a fat, fat bass sound. Where Free Your Mind reveled in the loose, lurid sound of acid house and Mancunian ‘90s nostalgia, Haiku From Zero is firmly placed in the structured sounds of Studio 54 and impeccably produced new wave. The best example of this is “Black Rainbow,” which sounds like Rick Astley shot into space around a spinning, white-hot globe of cocaine. The guitar, generally more of a firm supporting presence than the star on any prior Cut Copy record, is harder to ignore, either in “Black Rainbow’”s taut finger-picking or the golden age of porn chords on “Airborne.” Most notable of all, the improvisation and vamping that have characterized Cut Copy’s more club-influenced tracks is nowhere in evidence, the funky “Living Upside Down” being the closest they come to the Hacienda heights of Free Your Mind. Cut Copy can still produce dance-rock with the best of them, though; first single “Airborne,” in particular, is a mindlessly good time, with a bass motif in the chorus so cheesy it’s tough to see any other band being able to crank it out with a straight face.

For the most part, however, Haiku From Zero suffers from a quality not usually associated with Cut Copy: ordinary. The band’s turn towards straightforward dance-rock, unmarred by the genre eclecticism and studio experimentation of their past, means songs like “Stars Last Me A Lifetime” and “No Fixed Destination” are enjoyable in a vacuum, but in the context of the album come off like Cut Copy paint-by-numbers. Love it or hate it, Free Your Mind at least earned those strong reactions. Haiku From Zero feels too easy, a pleasant enough groove to get locked into and then flip over as the party ebbs or flows. There is, of course, nothing bad here, although closer “Tied To The Weather” seems to want to say far more than it can support. The record’s energy is impressive; the craft, even more so. What it doesn’t have, though, is any sense of vision, nothing of that dangerous excess or discovery that the best Cut Copy provides in spades. Instead, Haiku From Zero ends up being a bunch of great songs and little else – an unfortunately paper thin reproduction of the band at their best.




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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2017


11734 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

"Standing In The Middle Of A Field" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu5SNyN2nj4

Mordecai.
September 29th 2017


8348 Comments


Always had a soft spot for these guys. I skipped their last album but will check this out. Great review.

Gyromania
September 29th 2017


23075 Comments


in ghost colours all day long bb

literallyzach
September 29th 2017


436 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i like the artwork for this but damn what a disappointment. feelin stale

Digging: Fatima Al Qadiri - Shaneera

bloc
September 29th 2017


43589 Comments


Are they even trying with the artwork anymore lol

Digging: Venenum - Trance of Death

ProjectFreak
September 29th 2017


2105 Comments


Listening straight through this album, my predominant thought was "Huh, this is pleasant, but I have almost no desire to listen again."

Kinda got a bit of a Phoenix vibe from this, is that weird?

plane
Emeritus
September 29th 2017


6771 Comments


I liked this a lot, kinda felt like the meeting between In Ghost Colours' frenetic, layered style and the "spatial" songwriting you mentioned that is present on the brilliant Zonoscope (still the best Cut Copy album). I gotta say though, Free Your Mind got a major negative reaction from me because it felt so listless and worse than just being bad: it was boring. Might take it for another test drive after finding myself drawn here. Lovely review as ever. LISTEN TO JANUARY TAPE.

Divaman
October 1st 2017


1391 Comments


Nice one. I will check this album out.

Digging: Looming - Seed

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2017


11734 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

yoooo january tape is sick lewis haha i should have mentioned it here. we have opposite feelings re best cut copy albums although i think zonoscope has their best individual one or two songs. i liked free your mind kind of for that "listless" feeling, really feels more like a live set to me than a lot of their other work and i think it has a very strong throughline

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2017


11734 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

project ya this reminds me of the new phoenix a bit

Nrap
October 2nd 2017


395 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Its better than the last album. Has some nice moments but also a lot of uneventful stuff too. I wanna like it more that I do.

BrushedRed
October 3rd 2017


2549 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I’d say this is probably their best album. I’ve been enjoying it a ton. The last half is their best stretch of songs.

Anthracks
October 3rd 2017


6037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

free your mind is still impossibly underappreciated

bloc
October 3rd 2017


43589 Comments


"free your mind is still impossibly underappreciated"

Ugh that En Vogue track is so damn good

BrushedRed
October 3rd 2017


2549 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I hated Free Your Mind at first but it grew on me. Still not more than a 3.5 from me though. This was similar but amped up that sound. And is also less Duran Duran-y



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