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My musical ramblings – gig and album reviews, music news and views

Cut Copy: HMV Forum – Sunday 6 March 2011

Cut Copy

If ever there was an ideal band to re-write the pop handbook so the genre could be cleansed and its image overhauled, Cut Copy would be the ones to commission.

The four knights in shining armour from Australia were on a rescue mission of sorts at London’s HMV Forum on Sunday 6 March, and succeeded in breathing life into an otherwise plastic, clichéd world of boy bands, poor Madonna and Kylie replicas and cringeworthy Euro cheese. Their brand of 80s-influenced synth pop unstuck the shoes of a somewhat static crowd, transforming the old theatre into a mass of flailing arms and happy faces.

Arriving to one of In Ghost Colours’ atmospheric interludes, Visions, the band appeared through an eight foot high panel with a door playfully projected onto the screen. Mirroring the album, they launched into Nobody Lost, Nobody Found, and in stark contrast, a Pretenders beat introduced Zonoscope’s Where I’m Going. This was neatly knitted into So Haunted, whose guitars hammered home the realisation that the band never really been solely about synths and beats, and its twinkling xylophone at the break also became a wake up call for the crowd’s dancing feet.

Flashing lights played with the techno beat and cowbell of Corner Of The Sky, whipping the atmosphere into a soft peak. But it was perhaps the most popular Cut Copy offering to date – Lights And Music – that ensued a frenzy to its immaculate sing-a-long-ability and perfect piques and troughs. Dan Whitford and Tim Hoey’s on-stage confidence visibly grew with the reaction to their pop chemistry.

After the blissed-out, beachy Take Me Over, comparisons between Pharaohs & Pyramids to The Orb’s Pink Fluffy Clouds became visual as well as audible, as clouds floated in and out against a bright blue sky on the screen behind the band, rather like a Chemical Brothers live performance.

Amongst the 12 tracks there was even slot for synth-saturated Saturdays, from Bright Like Neon Love, with its edgy 80s-come-funky-house feel. Nevertheless, it was Hearts On Fire’s deep bassline and pleading chorus that galvanised the band’s party atmosphere and prickled the hairs on the back of the neck. Its soulful saxophone was a deliciously impossible to refuse, textbook example of a hands-in-the-air moment.

A straw poll of the audience would have probably concluded that Sun God’s inclusion was a bit self-indulgent. Announcing, ‘this is probably a good time to take a toilet break’, the band’s 15 minutes of button pushing, freestyle percussion and woven synths – although delightfully anorak-ish and introspective – would have been better spent on three more tracks. It felt like finding out you’d missed out on a three-for-one deal after spending as much on buying the product on its own.

Aptly choosing to include Zonoscope’s Need You Now in the encore, the track was a new favourite with the well-versed crowd, who’d clearly had the new material on regular repeat since its release. Signing off with Out There On The Ice, the quartet were greeted with a chorus of, “Yes, no, maybe, is all I need to hear from you” – the backing ‘doo doos’ layered amongst other instruments to give the track a complexity that’s become so rare in pop, while the slow build up was dropped at just the right level of tension. Fundamentally though, this track is like a biopsy that shows the fundamental make up of Cut Copy.

In a nutshell, they make immaculate, un-soppy songs about love and life that are both complexly layered and structured, but sound simple at the same time. Live, you might have expected them to struggle to translate that magic, but instead, it feels like Cut Copy might be the new owners of the keys to electro pop perfection.

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