Cut Copy have way too much going for them: Not only can they toggle between creating bouncy, swirly electro-pop anthems and shoegaze-inspired indie classics, but they also possess hipster cred, modest good looks, and covetable Australian accents. They've also proved, with their second album, In Ghost Colours, that the success of 2004’s Bright Like Neon Love was no fluke.
The Australian band's new album takes the best elements of the debut, tightens them up, mixes the tracks into each other, and, with a little help from producer Tim Goldsworthy of DFA, culminates in pure pop perfection. Keeping their trademark breezy, dreamy, swirly, '80s-inspired vibe, Cut Copy have packed In Ghost Colours with pop songs of the very best kind -- songs that make you feel, dance and dream.
One of the unique things about Cut Copy is still their willingness to get emotional -- a rare thing in today’s too-cool-for-school indie/electro scene. Sentimentality and vulnerability run deep in their music, but particularly in frontman Dan Whitford’s unabashedly romantic lyrics. An example from “Hearts on Fire”: “I've been searching for a love alive/ Drowning in the silence as we walk the night/ Your hand is out and brushes mine/ A moment that is frozen as we hang in time.”
Compared to its predecessor, In Ghost Colours is sonically more complex, with more layers of melodies, beats, and effects washing over each other. Like the bastardization of New Order and My Bloody Valentine, the album also sees the effortless balance of electronic and organic sounds. The stellar first singles, “Lights & Music” and “Hearts on Fire,” have already become dance-floor classics, with their catchy choruses, disco beats, and hand claps a-plenty. In the same vein are standouts like “Out There on the Ice,” and “Nobody Lost, Nobody Found,” with its grooving, laidback Duran Duran-esque rhythm section.
On the flip side, a number of album tracks showcase Cut Copy’s finely tuned indie sensibilities: “Eternity One Night Only,” the hazy, blissed-out closer, and “Unforgettable Season,” which plays like a first cousin to something off of Loveless. Several instrumental interludes are interspersed through the album, most remarkably “Visions” (an extended version of this dreamy confection would make for an awesome B-side someday). And then some tracks completely blur the line, like “So Haunted” and “Strangers in the Wind,” two very different-sounding tracks that both start off in a guitar-heavy direction and completely morph into synthy rumpshakers midway through.
With In Ghost Colours, Cut Copy have created a record that is both en vogue and timeless, familiar yet fresh, full of glossy optimism, and unforgettably gorgeous from start to finish.
It only took two albums for Cut Copy's transformation to become official. The aptly named production vehicle for Dan Whitford effectively replicated your favorite shoegazers and dancefloor maestros on its debut Bright Light Neon Love. For album number two, Whitford teamed up with DFA's Tim Goldsworthy to obsess over ELO and Loveless… and write a new album.