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Vinyl LP pressing. 2011 release, the third album from the Australian Synthpopsters. This is Cut Copy boiled down to their purest form: a suite of futuristic visions built upon primal rhythm tracks. It is at once their most immediate work to date but also their most sonically exquisite. Zonoscope was dreamt in the comedown of In Ghost Colours, the album which cemented Cut Copy as a global sensation. Recorded over a six month period and mixed in Atlanta by Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley, Deerhunter), Zonoscope paints a mesmerizing picture, conjured by a band at the height of their powers.
Melbourne’s Cut Copy first came to attention to UK audiences with their Bright Like Neon Love album in 2004, mostly due to support slots with the likes of Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. Despite still keeping a fairly low profile here since, they’ve become big news in their native Australia where their last album – 2008’s In Ghost Colours – shot straight to the top of the albums chart. They’ve since started to make their mark in the States, and today they’re pretty much the star act on the indispensible Modular label.
With the original trio of Dan Whitford, Tim Hoey and Mitchell Dean Scott now a quartet with the addition of bassist Ben Browning, the band here present a third album aimed at consolidating the success and goodwill gained after In Ghost Colours – one of the finest records of its kind from the past few years. Recorded and produced by the band in their homeland before being mixed by Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter), Zonoscope acts as a comedown to the previous high of IGC, adding more percussion and having a mildly psychedelic air about its proceedings.
This 11-tracker touches on all the key references of the past 30 years – a Tom Tom Club feel is thrown into the mix on Pharaohs & Pyramids, while Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution could be a perkier LCD Soundsystem. Starting off superbly with Need You Now, which sounds like OMD all future’d up and taken down a rave, the Andy McCluskey-ness of Whitford’s voice later makes the jolly glam thud beneath Where I’m Going sound not unlike OMD’s latter-day cheesier period. This is All We’ve Got bounds into Doves dimensions, with an in-and-out sway akin to the Manchester band’s more windswept moments.
Elsewhere, Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat is further proof that Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night still seems to be a key album for the dance set down under, and closer Sun God chugs into a 15-minute odyssey. A flimsy Rapture-fronted-by-Bobby Gillespie rap bit about a quarter of the way through doesn’t help it, but it nevertheless builds into a propulsive monster going through phases of sound emanation, man.
While not quite the amazing leap that Cut Copy made from Bright Like Neon Love to In Ghost Colours, Zonoscope is by no means a bad album. But it is one that will probably sound better when wafting across a field during festival season.
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, with Zonoscope, the experience *should* be there for the taking, but sadly, on my CD copy (and clearly on many others too, judging by these reviews) there are two-second pauses between tracks. This isn't a problem for the small number of tracks that simply fade out. However, when a song ends with a bubbling electronic sound, then cuts off dead for two seconds, then resumes with the exact same sound, you know that this was supposed to be a seamless fit. It breaks the continuity. I am disappointed. If anyone has a CD that doesn't do this, please say, because I am loath to send this back only to have the same problem again. I much prefer physical music products to mp3 downloads so it is quite galling that this beautiful deluxe package seems to have a silly, avoidable error.
Quibble aside, Cut Copy have delivered the goods with this album. It's not In Ghost Colours. There is no song on here to rival the dizzying heights of Lights and Music. However, Zonoscope is a consistently very, very good record. The first thing I noticed was the sound has morphed from the indie disco sheen of In Ghost Colours to a more tribal, percussive sound. It's also a slightly muddier sound - the drums are not particularly dominant in the mix, but they're there.Read more ›
It is similar in style to their first album and yet each song is still distinctively different. It is also one of those more subtle albums that don't necessarily grab you the very first time you hear the song, but the tunes build and build in such a way that you don't get bored of them and after the initial few listens they are in your head and you just want to play them over and over again.
So yeah, may have got a little carried away there, but what can I say.. it's awesome. Need You Now is my fave track on the album. But when listening to it online before buying I could only find a shortened version that was only 3mins long or so - the version on the album is 6mins which allows it to build for longer, and so it is infinitely better. Gettit. It's ace.
(Ps. If you like cut copy try The Naked and Famous - I just discovered them and think I'm in love)
I can't understand how a record company can commit this error.
The album is so good but I'm very disappointed.
I believe that Modular Records should return the money to those who have bought this defective copy.
Compared to their previous album this is much a more song structured work, maturing and broadening their sound into a lot of interesting areas. Tracks such as "This Is All We've Got" have a psychedelic undercurrent whilst "Ailsa" and "Where I'm Going" are clearly pieces with a melodic feel moving into the indie/pop area. There are still songs which feel more like the earlier incarnation such as "Pharaohs & Pyramids" and "Need You Now" which could fit onto the last album although the latter also sounds like it could just as easily fit on something by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.
There are echoes of all kinds of influence throughout the album. Addition of bassist Ben Browning has given them something of a deeper sound. It is a slickly created work and there really isn't a bad track here. Reminding your ears of everything from New Order through to Hot Chip, this is a hugely enjoyable album brimming with danceable beats and melodies attached to well-structured high quality songs. It's a long album but it really doesn't flag thanks to this consistency. Closing tracks "Corner Of The Sky" - a percussive synth heavy groove - and the epic "Sun God" are the firmest reminders that Cut Copy aren't ready to give up their dance roots yet. The latter is something of a highlight building to a wonderful electronic climax conjuring up images of vintage era Giorgio Moroder. Never uninteresting, this is a definite highlight of 2011.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely cracking album. Very 80s sound. I hear bits of New Order, OMD early Pet Shop Boys. All good but still sounds very new. Read morePublished on 31 Jan. 2014 by jerry
I just waited for each song to go somewhere. They didn't. They're all so wet. Can't believe it took more than a morning to put this together. Nice elevator music.Published on 7 May 2013 by Amazon Customer
Just in case anyone is put off by the reports of gaps on the audio CD, I bought the special edition CD/DVD in April 2012, and I can happily report that there are no gaps on it now.Published on 23 May 2012 by Amazon Customer
love it. Pauses between songs interrupt a little, but fantastic album. Good for dancing around the house and listening to in the car.Published on 20 Nov. 2011 by looloolala
Unoriginal, dated and boring, compared to the likes of Is Tropical, LCMDF, We are Machines etc this album sounds a few steps off the pace. Mix it up more boys.Published on 3 Sept. 2011 by Mr. R. J. Melvin
Boy do Cut Copy know how to make a catchy tune! Brilliant 3rd album, to me it sounds even more 80's influenced than In Ghost Colours did, this time borrowing from Fleetwood Mac... Read morePublished on 7 May 2011 by I. A. Towey
Cut Copy are one of the brightest talents on the aussie scene, this LP was purchased with a real tingling of anticipation....FIRST LISTEN....hmmmm...... Read morePublished on 20 Mar. 2011 by DOGG
What a great album, is sure to remain in my CD player for a few weeks, Take Me Over, Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution and Need You Now my favourite stand out tracks. Read morePublished on 7 Mar. 2011 by Mr. Robert J. Cumming