Rantings, reviews and lists from a person who structures half his life around obsessing over music.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours (2008)

4.0 ★/8.0 - 8.9

Through the first half of the 2000's, DFA records struck upon something gold, even if they didn't realize it yet. The formula was simple: Live Rock instrumentation + Dance music = a good time. The result was what publications have gone on to call "Dance Punk", recalling the early 80's, but bringing in the modern dance renovations of Club music. Bands like !!!, The Faint and Hot Chip spread these forefathers' philosophy all across the country, revealing scenesters' silliness at refusing to get their asses on the dance floor and start moving. It's no surprise why someone would look back on this as the "golden era" for music in the 00s, but those people also face the undeniable fact that the genre didn't have nearly enough top-tier albums before dying down.

This is what makes Cut Copy's sophomore album such a pleasant surprise. It so impeccably fuses dance music and indie pop that one would have trouble recalling a time when the two genres were at all separate. They're akin to a more poppy version of LCD Soundsystem, abusing all the arm-crossing, stand-still hipsters at a show with irresistible, hip shaking grooves, leaving them no choice but to move to the beat. But let's get rid of the modern cultural implications here; Cut Copy are just a ridiculously catchy Techno band. They aren't doing anything that Depeche Mode (or even more recently, The Rapture) didn't do before, and you'll be mistaken to think that there's any sort of cultural milestone hidden within In Ghost Colours' spinning keyboards and sharp rhythmic guitars. All they have are insanely catchy melodies and toe-tapping beats to match. But they accomplish it with so much charisma and fearlessness that you can't help but get caught up in their ever-swirling daze. "Feel The Love" is the mission statement, mixing Futureheads-style hooks with whimsical Disco breakdowns and shameless usage of a vox-box that seem to invite the listener to let go and embrace the cheese. If you do so, you'll be rewarded with the bass-led dance punk of "Feel The Music" and "Nobody Lost, Nobody Found" or "So Haunted", which glamorously fuses avant-noise with a rock-star arena chorus. "Hearts On Fire" meanwhile is a straight-forward club track with "uh" voice samples and layers of spacey synths. Between each of these 80's dance-offs are cloudy sound collages of vocal clips and samples that recall Animal Collective (see "Eternity One Night Only") and do away with any overbearing qualities that could've so easily plagued a retro-release like this. As a matter of fact, similar to M83's Saturdays = Youth, In Ghost Colours perfectly fits into 2008 despite it's dated influences. I think what we're seeing is a vigorous response to everyone who said in the early 2000's that all the bands bringing retro influences back to the forefront of musical consciousness was just a phase. The bottom line is that truly timeless music doesn't just stick to it's decade. It continues to inspire and be reinterpreted in an infinite number of ways, sometimes in a form that's just as fresh as the original was. In Ghost Colours is such a case.

No comments:

"How many times must a man look up
before he can see the sky?"