Cut Copy – Haiku From Zero

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Cut Copy still make outstanding electro-pop, but are they pushing themselves enough?

Cut Copy are reliable. For the past decade and a half, they’ve delivered electronic music that’s often as thoughtful as it is danceable. Rather than reach for cookie cutter hooks and massive drops, they’ve built their success on indelible grooves and the occasional euphoric peak, putting them in the same league as indie-electro’s most credible players.

Haiku From Zero continues the band’s run of quality records. But, while it’s a step away from the rave-up of 2014’s Free Your Mind – its grooves land a little softer – it doesn’t necessarily feel like a progression. There’s not much here that we haven’t heard before. For many, that’s not going to be an issue. Some may even see it as a strength. But there’s something frustrating about a band who can make music this good, but not push it a little further to the edges and take more chances.

This becomes most telling with the album’s strangest and most affecting moment, which comes right at the end. ‘Tied To The Weather’ is a sparse, brilliantly constructed slice of weirdo art-pop that would bring the most carefree party to its knees. After 40 minutes of breezy throwback pop, it sticks out as a beautifully awkward piece that suggests what could have been if the band were willing to throw the rulebook out the window.

While the rest of the record doesn’t feel as inspired in a musical sense, it’s still an outstanding take on fun, breezy pop. If you’re looking for palatable electro-pop, there’s a lot to like here, and this will soundtrack the forthcoming summer days very nicely.

‘Black Rainbows’, the album’s catchiest moment, is a slice of understated pop genius. The tropical disco vibe of ‘Airborne’ shows the versatility of that classic Nile Rodgers-style funk guitar.

 

The jangly indie-pop of ‘No Fixed Destination’ uses brilliant backing vocals in its chorus to lend it an ‘80s pop vibe, while ‘Memories We Share’ blends a little Talking Heads-inspired worldbeat with squelchy ‘90s rave.

The most interesting thing about the record is the emotional direction vocalist Dan Whitford takes with his lyrics. His lyrics are thoughtful, emotional and often bleak in the face of the bright tones the band proffer, making for an intriguing juxtaposition.

Haiku From Zero is another solid record from Cut Copy. But it doesn’t take enough chances to make it another classic. At least they’re still on the right track. 

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