Thursday, April 10, 2008

Review: Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

Cut Copy @ MySpace

Cut Copy's new album dropped this past Tuesday and immediately hit the regular rotation for my various media players. In Ghost Colours is by leaps and bounds better than their previous effort, Bright Like Neon Love, which is not to say that their last album was bad. Far from it. Simply put though, the additional production help from the fellows at DFA Records added that undercurrent of 70s disco to Cut Copy's heavy slabs of 80s italo-disco. So there's disco all around; some cheesy, some knee-buckling, and some that simply amazes.
What makes Colours a different, better album that Neon Love is Cut Copy's development as a serious pop act versus a disco-influenced side show. Dan Whitford's lyrics have improved while maintaining his lush, humming vocals. One could easily confuse bits of Whitford's singing with that of Morrissey yet such a comparison doesn't feel forced. The addition of Mitchell Scott and Tim Hoey in the line-up adds to the fullness of Cut Copy's sound without pushing them too far in the direction of a more traditional electro-rock act.
But it's the production qualities that mark this album. Where some of the remixes off Neon Love ended up better than the originals, such as the Digitalism remix of "Going Nowhere", it seems that Whitford has taken these lessons to heart. Working with Tim Goldsworthy of DFA and LCD Soundsystem fame has had its benefits as well. The breaks are timed perfectly and the rise and fall of each song feels seemless and appropriate. Relying mostly on live or looped drums has improved the sound as well, substituting what would otherwise have been an electric beat with the organics of analog. The bass lines also share a similar development, trending towards a disco-funk that shows Goldsworthy's influence.
I don't love this album, but I do like the hell out of it. It's a club album, for sure, but unfortunately not a car album. What I look forward to now is the slew of remixes sure to come out of this album with French producer Joakim leading the way on "Hearts on Fire". In Ghost Colours has some legs to it, both in its own right and as fodder for the djs of London, Melbourne, and Berlin.

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