For the band's third album though, Zonoscope, the band has recruited Ben Allen of Animal Collective and Deerhunter fame for mixing. If Goldsworthy's role as auteur and mentor has perhaps been underrated by casual fans and overstated by scrutinizers, it's worth noting that without him the band's lost little of its long-player coherence. The method of assembly, though, is markedly different. In Ghost Colours was arranged according to the ebb and flow model of album craft, allowing little pockets of withdrawal and hesitation to highlight the album's pop gems, while Zonoscope's progression's more linear. Gone, for the most part, are that album's instrumental segues and daydrifts. Here, the listener's treated to a tighter, more streamlined selection that emphasizes track impact over the album's sonic arch.
Opening with the black-light arpeggios of the OMD-esque "Need You Now," Cut Copy leans into the jumpy Balearic pop of "Take Me Over"—which contains a rhythmic nod to fellow Aussies Men At Work—and finishes with the Beach Boys harmonizing of lead single "Where I'm Going." "Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution," meanwhile, resembles the surf shorts disco of Studio, while with Spacemen 3 guitar squall and chunky drums both "This Is All We've Got" and the excellent "Alisa" look back to the band's more full-blooded, organic past.
Closer "Sun God," on the other hand, is the band's most expansive effort yet. Over fifteen minutes, the band slides from blissed out dance pop into a break where Whitford soapboxes "you've got to live/you've got to die/so what's the purpose of you and I" before finally settling into the kosmische-y glow of one of Göttsching's autobahn symphonies. It's a daring moment on an album that's, for both better and worse, nothing of the sort. Their anthems, barring "Need You Now," have been replaced by sly, sinewy creations that don't really pop 'til listen twelve. The album's impact lies instead in the band's confidence in its own instincts and the clarity of its vision. Beneath Cut Copy's nods to forebears and its loving advocacy of early '80s pop, Zonoscope's the sound of a band beginning to trademark itself.
Mon / 14 Feb 2011
01. Need You Now
02. Take Me Over
03. Where I'm Going
04. Pharaohs & Pyramids
05. Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution
06. Strange Nostalgia for The Future
07. This Is All We've Got
09. Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat
10. Corner of the Sky
11. Sun God