Release Date: Nov 5, 2013
Record label: Modular Recordings
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Club/Dance, Alternative Dance
Cut Copy are masters of absorbing various influences and then expressing them naturally through their indie dance pop. With 2004's debut album, Bright Like Neon Love, it was house music; for 2008's In Ghost Colours, it was shoegaze; and on 2011's Zonoscope, it was retro arena rock. For their fourth album, Free Your Mind, the Melbourne group have tapped into their most congruent influence to date: acid house.
Review Summary: Yo quiero....bailar!That atrocious album art is all you really need to divine the hidden meaning behind Cut Copy’s fourth record, the transparently titled Free Your Mind. An MS Paint concoction lifted from your nearest boardwalk store, on the rack right next to the scented candles and bongs engraved with Jamaican colors, it’s an invocation and a color scheme designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It’s almost funny in a winking sort of way, but one listen to Free Your Mind and it’s apparent that there’s no joke being played here: there is no hidden meaning.
Picking up where the epic closing track of 2011's Zonoscope left off, Cut Copy plunge deeper into psychedelic disco and house music on their fourth album. On each successive record, the Melbourne-based pop group's sound has been less guitar-focused. Instead, the noises that leap out of Free Your Mind's densely layered productions are the Manchester house-inspired piano riffs and ravey vocal samples swirling around singer/producer Dan Whitford's exuberant melodies.
After the release of their icy and heavily '80s-inspired In Ghost Colours in 2008, Cut Copy warmed up and expanded their sound to the point where they almost seem like a completely different band. 2011's Zonoscope was almost excessively bright and extroverted, with songs like "Where I'm Going" sounding like Jock Jams in comparison to the introspectively moody sound the band had previously established. Their 2013 album, Free Your Mind, is even bigger sounding and warmer.
Fans of Cut Copy who are expecting more of the brilliant and addictive dance-pop they're known for will not be disappointed in their fourth album, Free Your Mind. Anyone looking for a step in any other direction will likely need to recalibrate their expectations. Cut Copy show no signs of letting the party die down on Free Your Mind, which takes their infectious mixture of kitschy disco beats and hipster-approved party glam to a new psychedelic level.
Dance music nostalgia is a dangerous concept. One minute you’re at a warehouse party blazed on acid and wondering why you can’t see primary colours anymore. The next, you’re ferrying the kids back from their first school disco while Heart FM’s Club Classics plays in the background. For Cut Copy to hark back to electronica’s 90s heyday is understandable.
As damn catchy as the Cut Copy oeuvre is, let’s be honest—it only consists of three basic elements: 1) synths (bonus points if a description can contain the adjective “shimmering” or “neon”); 2) lyrics featuring any one of the following: light, love or cityscapes; and 3) beats specifically designed to evoke audience participation (dancing, clapping, throwing of undergarments). The Australian quartet’s fourth album Free Your Mind contains all of those things. Groundbreaking, this ain’t.
The bridging of indie and dance is not uncommon, but does anyone actually achieve full acceptance in both communities? LCD Soundsystem could get a tent to dance, but were those crowds ever truly satisfied, or were they wishing the festival had booked Crookers instead? Crystal Castles has had success in both scenes, but when they play HARD or Ultra, aren’t they the indie dance group at the rave? Cut Copy also likes dipping their feet in both pools, and indeed last weekend they played on the main stage at HARD Day of the Dead, wedged neatly between Destructo and Eric Prydz. Theirs was a 6:00 p. m.
Cut Copy have flirted with pastiche in the past, tapping into ’80s pop on their 2004 debut ‘Bright Like Neon Love’ and its follow-up, 2008’s ‘In Ghost Colours’. Latest album ‘Free Your Mind’ is no different, but this time the four Australians are channelling the acid house and Second Summer Of Love scenes of the late ’80s. With the help of producer Dave Fridmann (a man whose cosmic touches can be heard on Tame Impala, MGMT and Flaming Lips records), they’ve created an impressive homage to the era with nods to A Guy Called Gerald and New Order on both the title track and ‘We Are Explorers’.
Arriving like a brightly coloured manifesto for a new age cult, Cut Copy’s fourth album Free Your Mind is a hypnotic time-capsule of period dance. Inspired by both the hippy movement of the Sixties and the UK club scene of the early Nineties, it diverges from their usual Eighties synth-pop sheen, placing a heavy slant on the hedonistic idealism of the past, to craft a paean to peace, love and pill-fuelled teeth grinding. Brimming with instantly gratifying beats, hook-laden psychedelia, thudding bass-lines and darting syth stabs, Free Your Mind is in many respects the answer to the questions posed on 2011?s scattergun Zonoscope.
Cut Copy never sounded like a band that had a problem getting to the point. Nor did they ever sound like a band that needed a serotonin boost. Yet, even “Lights & Music”, “Need You Now”, “Hearts on Fire”, “Take Me Over” and just about any of the Australian quartet’s uniformly excellent and directly-titled singles can sound wishy-washy and kinda dark in the face of Free Your Mind, its Successories screen-saver album cover and Dan Whitford’s claim that the title refers to a freedom that’s “universally positive and timeless.
Tired, uptight and unable to stop thinking about work? Is it impossible to get down with the kids these days? Is a warm blanket preferable to a tequila shot? That’s ok. This is perfectly normal. But if it feels like a rut to be stuck in, Cut Copy are here to help. The Melbourne dance enthusiasts have stepped things up a notch.
Back in 2004, when Australia’s Cut Copy released the great Bright Like Neon Love, few people seemed to notice. Even though tracks like Saturdays were pop songs steeped in the pop music of the ’80s, it wasn’t until 2008’s more dance-punk In Ghost Colours that the music-listening public started appreciating a band who could appeal to the body and mind equally. This wasn’t to say Cut Copy’s songs waxed poetic about wars and social ills; rather, within songs and within albums, the foursome took unexpected turns, pulsing up the beat when the song didn’t naturally call for it and scaling it back when listeners might have predicted it to explode.
With Free Your Mind, Cut Copy looks to continue the all-night dance party they've been MCing since Bright Like Neon Love, complete with eye-searing DayGlo artwork. Cut Copy's sound has one gear, and Dan Whitford and company clearly relish its speed, all but reveling in the trancelike grooves of their nü-disco club beats. Like Wild Beasts and Hot Chip, these Australian electro-revelers refuse to bow to some impetus for reinvention, indulging in their swirling dance-floor fare with an insular devotion.
This is an homage to the music of the second summer of love in 1988, when everyone was off their heads on acid house and permanently painted paisley. It's also an homage that seems to have entirely missed the point. The fourth album from this electro-pop band was apparently inspired by singer Dan Whitford's experiences in the Melbourne club scene and all the anticipated elements are here; lofty synths, infrequent acid squelches, echoing harmonies, lo-slung bass, archival audio of half-familiar voices talking about matters elusive and profound.
The development in album art from 2011’s Zonoscope to 2013’s Free Your Mind says something not only about the Amazonian world of pixelated covers that we now live in, but also something about Cut Copy‘s major shift in perspective.Zonoscope‘s somber, surreal cover depicts New York City in the midst of an apocalypse, water pooling about halfway up the Empire State Building and spilling into the streets below. It’s borrowed from a photomontage done by the late Japanese artist Tsunehisa Kimura. The giant, colorful letters (their interiors lapped by Technicolor waves) spelling out the album title on Free Your Mind‘s cover, on the other hand, might well have been laid out by an overexcited teenager tooling around on Photoshop.
opinion byBENJI TAYLOR 1988. IT boffins and astrophysicists will remember it as a year of significant firsts - the year of the first major computer virus, the “1988 Internet worm”, and the discovery of the very first extrasolar planet, Gamma Cephei Ab. Seasoned ravers and technophiles remember it for a very different significant “second” however - the second “Summer Of Love”… the explosion of Acid House in Europe ushered in via a cloudburst of MDMA and the clamour from a thousand Roland TB-303 synthesizers screeching in unison.
An argument can, and has, been made that Melbourne, Australia, outfit Cut Copy was one of the more pivotal bridges between 2000s indie-rock and the ascent of electronic dance music from the underground. While 2004 debut “Bright Like Neon Love” was a first hesitant step, 2008’s near-perfect “In Ghost Colours” married the tunefulness of New Order to the euphoria of UK house. The follow-up, “Zonoscope,” meandered astray somewhat, but “Free Your Mind” finds Dan Whitford and company again lighting hearts, and dancefloors, on fire with a rapturous intertwining of psychotropic vocals and jubilant acid-house energy.
Free Your Mind. How about that for a title eh? Both a statement and an appeal: direct and all-encompassing; singular and pluralistic. It's with these split interpretations in mind that Cut Copy seem to have been building up to Free Your Mind's release, the iconography and references they've been employing - everything from Tribal Gathering to pseudo-spiritual self-help TV networks - seemingly all part of an attempt to tap into and explore this binary mindset.