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Music Review: Cut Copy's new album "Zonoscope"

In one sentence: Take 80s electro-pop dance music and remove the shrink-wrap, rough it up with some stronger beats, spaced-out techno sound-effects, and edgier lyrics and you've got Cut Copy's Zonoscope.

Heyo...just spreading the word about a group I've just gotten hip to: Cut Copy. I just got their latest album Zonoscope (2011), and it's just about the most entertaining thing I've heard in my several months long quest to get updated on modern music.

Before I get to the complex, music-writing mumbo-jumbo about their "sound"...lemme just say, the second song on the album, "Take me over," sounds eerily like Fleetwood Mac's disco-ish "I wanna be with you everwhere," but with a stronger beat and some really nice techno sound effects and more fun lyrics thrown in. This track definitely has that "wait-a-minute-what's-this?" quality about it. It will stop you in your tracks and make you think you've been transported back to 1987...and I mean that in the best way possible.

But while "Take me over" is a throwback, the rest of the album defies categorization. It feels simultaneously like Future Rock and a return to the (in my opinion) golden days of '80s electro-pop. Although these cuts are definitely derivative of groups like the Talking Heads, The Cars, INXS, and other 80s platinum monsters, the difference is Cut Copy's songs feel more cluttered with beats and sound effects, almost to the point of being messy. But I think that's precisely what makes Cut Copy so great and worth listening to, especially if you liked 80s electro-pop: Zonoscope has a fun, all-over-the-place kind of feel that your average 80s classics didn't. In otherwords: it's like the shrink-wrap has been taken off, and the product has been roughed-up by some people who relish in the possibilities of techno sound effects and strong, driving beats.

Notable tracks:

2.) Take me over - Stopped me in my tracks the moment I heard it. Hauntingly similar to Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere," but what?

5.) Blink and you'll miss a revolution - Do these guys have a crystal ball? Released just before the Arab world's string of revolutions this winter, this preciently-titled song typifies this album and -- even more ironically -- has a middle Eastern feel to it.

9.) Hanging on to every heartbeat - If you haven't fallen in love with Cut Copy by the time you get to this dreamy, spaced-out track, you will now. Despite the cheese-ball, Debbie Gibson-type title, this song is a brilliant peice that includes a melody driven, at times, by what sounds like an old Casio keyboard, includes some nice 80s sound-effects, an accoustic guitar riff, and some nice pace and beat changes.

11.) Sun God - an ambitious, 15 minute, beat-driven, electro-pop/techno paean. Great way to close out this album.


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