Melbourne-natives Cut Copy first landed on my radar following the release of their sophomore effort, In Ghost Colours, an album that has become a defining release in the realm of the up-tempo electronic band music. Despite its intricately woven layers of groovy electronic bleepy bloops, In Ghost Colors possessed an effortlessly casual sound that enchanted critics and fans alike.
Free Your Mind marks the band’s fourth and most recent release. Coming to us two years following the release of their also-beloved third album, Zonoscope, Free Your Mind had some admittedly big shoes to fill.
Their latest effort begins with a 20-second instrumental interlude — the generically dubbed “Intro” — before launching into the album’s titular track, which, as far as Cut Copy singles go, is woefully forgettable. However, the multi-layered “We Are Explorers” exudes the band’s carefree, danceable sound so much so that it’s easily one of my favorite Cut Copy tracks of all time — no small statement. In comparison to “Free Your Mind,” “Let Me Show You Love” fares much better as far as album singles go, though it does strike me as being too similar to Zonoscope’s “Sun God.”
With its tinges of ’80s pop-rock anthem, “In Memory Capsule” is a track I can’t help but smile and tap my toes along to. Another standout, ”Take Me Higher,” has a lovely build-up the likes of which I haven’t heard from the Cut Copy of yore, but it’s a directional change I can wholeheartedly support.
Although there are some great tracks on Free Your Mind, the release as a whole is admittedly somewhat of a letdown. Had this album been released in 2009, it probably would have been better received; however, the fact of the matter is the genre has since evolved beyond this. When you compare this to material from contemporaries like Chvrches or Hot Chip, it’s handedly beat. Even compared to Cut Copy’s previous releases, Free Your Mind comes off as markedly more overwrought and uninspired, and it doesn’t seem to possess the same laid-back pizzazz the group is known for delivering.
Only time will tell if this album fares better in a live setting, and, in all fairness, if there’s anything Cut Copy is more than capable of, it’s delivering a solid live performance. Should that be the case during their show at The Palladium on April 1st, I’ll happily eat my words of skepticism regarding Free Your Mind. Until then, I’ll likely stick to listening to the handful of tracks I liked from the album while largely brushing over a little over half of it.
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