By Garin Pirnia
When the year-end accolades come out, Cut Copy’s sophomore record, “In Ghost Colours,” will most likely appear on a multitude of best-of lists. More aligned with psyche-pop than straight-up pop, the Australian trio wax nostalgic and cite influences Tangerine Dream, ELO’s “The Time” and Krautrock. Upon listening, aural flavor crystals explode as the record sounds vintage, yet completely ingenious.
“Cut Copy’s been a celebration of all forms of dance music from French house to Detroit techno,” says guitarist Tim Hoey during a phone interview from Sydney, where it was already the next day. “Also, we’re a band as well. Cut Copy is a celebration of all those kinds of things and for us the challenge is taking bits of those and tying them all together into the Cut Copy sound.” The lyric from the song “Future” from the first album sums up the band’s proclivity: “The future is a good time to think about the past.” In the past four years, Cut Copy has been on the brink of breaking through. In 2001, lead singer Dan Whitford formed Cut Copy as a one-man band and released the glitchy “I Thought of Numbers” EP. For the band’s full-length debut, 2004’s New Wave-y “Bright Like Neon Love,” two more members joined. Between releases, the band stayed on the radar contributing to a “Fabric Live” compilation, pasting together last year’s “So Cosmic” mix CD and remixing tracks for other artists. So, what took them so long to come out with a new record? “The biggest problem was when ‘Love’ came out in Australia, it got a delayed release overseas,” Hoey explains. “It came out a year and half later in the UK and US. It really took time for people to hear that record. We were touring for three years before we could even start writing the next one. It was great because we found we had a new audience every day and with every tour.” Copy’s exhilarating live show captures elements of both a rock and a club show. “The shows are more of an interpretation of the record,” Hoey says. “We just try to make it as fun and crazy as we can possibly make it.”
“Colours” is worth the wait. “Strangers in the Wind” starts off ethereal, then when the chorus hits, so do the cascading synths: “Run to the lights of the city/these moments passing will be there,” Whitford commands. The disco-laced “Nobody Lost, Nobody Found” and club anthems “Lights and Music” and “Hearts on Fire” propel the record forward. Credit for “Colours”’ experimental sound goes to the album’s producer Tim Goldsworthy. “He [Tim] was very much about experimenting,” Hoey says. “He didn’t have a concrete idea about what something was going to be or what the album was going to be while we were putting it together. It was, do all the stuff and at the end of the day, let’s look back on it and figure out what it is. I think it’s a great way to work.” In the past couple of years, Australia has experienced a burgeoning electronic scene. Bands like the Avalanches and Presets have proved the land down under isn’t just Jet and Kylie Minogue terrain. “When we started out, the scene wasn’t here at and all the kinds of bands that were coming out of here like the Midnight Juggernauts and the Presets all toured together because there was no one else to tour with,” Hoey says. “The audiences have tripled and quadrupled since we started out here. And now the world is looking towards Australia at the moment, which is great.” Copy’s record recently hit number one on the Australian charts, which was shocking to the band because it never considered itself to be chartable.
For the next year, Cut Copy will steadily tour the world, record more remixes and hopefully won’t let another four years pass before releasing another album. “I think pretty much from here until this time next year is just touring,” Hoey says. “It’s intense to see a schedule and see a whole year blocked out and what you’re doing every day between now and January. It’s kind of freaking me out.”
Cut Copy, with Black Kids and Mobius Band at Abbey Pub, 3420 West Grace, (773)478-4408, on May 7, 6:30pm (all ages) and 10pm (18+). $15-$18.