Influenced by Fleetwood Mac, Chicago house music, Animal Collective, and copious amounts of peppermint tea, Cut Copy — made up of Dan Whitford, Tim Hoey, Mitchell Scott, and Ben Browning — began as Whitford's solo DJ project in 2001. It then emerged on the scene as a performance trio with 2004's Bright Like Neon Love, and Browning joined following 2008's In Ghost Color.
The group's third full-length, Zonoscope, delivers blissed-out clubbing sounds, reverberant bustle, and postindustrial introspection while in no way neglecting the band's more entrancing, indie-pop tendencies. The quartet invested in analog synths to augment live-digital hybrid percussion and sparkly whorls of treble, using both a vintage Roland Space Echo and the whole of its tennis court-size recording space to capture a dreamy psychedelic palette. And it used blankets, old mattresses, and other odds and ends to create a recording room like "a kid's playhouse," where the group ensconced for six months to harbor "a deliberate conceptual focus to sort of see what rhythm would mean to a song rather than following chords or melodies," Browning says.
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The result is a soulful sequence of festival-friendly songs that build tension and deliver climax. A confluence of everything Cut Copy does well, with an even more celebratory, nuanced aesthetic, Zonoscope delivers not only as an album but also as an experience.