Album: Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
Released 4th November 2013
I held Cut Copy’s fourth studio album ‘Free Your Mind’ as one of my most anticipated releases this year. Notwithstanding a few hiccups they have always proven themselves to be on point, producing charismatic anthems painting pictures of suburban Melbourne house parties and the lackadaisical life of Australian youth. Dan Whitford professed that the album was inspired by the late 80s UK acid sound which has been recently resurging within Melbourne’s club scene, a worthy call of influence by all means. However, at times the album feels like a poor hybrid of the loveable Cut Copy electro pop sound he pioneered and a confused interpretation of acid house. The title, Free Your Mind is something of a drug cliché, and unfortunately the message of the album for the most part follows suit.
Most of the tracks from the album are listenable with a few standing out. ‘Let Me Show You Love’, at a slower tempo is the highlight with clever progression and layering. ‘Into The Desert’ is a gorgeous instrumental prelude for ‘Footsteps’, but a somewhat brash bass and drum pattern comes in, sadly obliterating the previous inspiration for the remainder of the track. As a whole, the album is dilute and there is little musical intricacy to conjure up any complex emotion beneath the surface of bland lyrics and the cold, hugely overproduced vocals. Their sound sculpting process, brought to my attention in a documentary about the making of 2011 album Zonoscope is undeniably impressive again on Free Your Mind with unique and strong soundscapes but fail to strengthen the emotional context of tracks on the record.
Stylistically, Cut Copy seem to have come up short as they attempt to replicate house music. The end result tends to feel somewhat contrived, and their strengths lie within their stripped back, slower and spacious work. ‘Dark Corners & Mountain Tops’ hits these criteria, pleasantly reminiscent of the captivating track ‘A Dream’ on their debut album Bright Like Neon Love back in 2004. The album is by no means unlistenable but takes too much inspiration from what is currently unsatisfying about dance music. Songs about love and landscapes with carefully constructed sounds to portray the mood, not about drugs and clubs with ungrounded noises will keep Cut Copy in the game.