When Dan Whitford sings “Watch me slowly fall apart” on Haiku From Zero‘s wonderful, twinkly opener ‘Standing in the Middle of the Field‘, it’s such a shock it’s like that bit in Extras where Kate Winslet swears like a trooper. Have this most nauseatingly positive of bands made their post-rave comedown album, their own synthpop This is Hardcore?
The answer comes pretty quickly on ‘Counting Down’, a throbbing electro-funk belter with Whitford joyously singing “Love will save us, love will save us!” in a ridiculous falsetto on the chorus: no they haven’t. They can’t help themselves can they? I mean, normally I wouldn’t let such relentlessly cheerful fuckers come within a country mile of Russell Towers, but I can’t think of too many bands who’ve given me as much pleasure in the last decade as Cut Copy. Despite sounding like they do yoga and are familiar with the foul works of Paulo Coelho, I absolutely adore them.
So when Whitford sings complete cobblers like “Black rainbows never stop, HEY! I’m never gonna give you all my love” over cheesed-up indie-dance (and oh, do CC LOVE their cheese) on third track ‘Black Rainbows‘, I find myself grinning like a wanking chimp, and no band has hit my pleasure buttons in quite this way since, er Cut Copy, with 2013’s brilliant Free Your Mind.
Where that album shamelessly mined early 90s house and indie-dance, Haiku From Zero (nope, me neither) is rooted in 80s funk and disco. The aforementioned ‘Counting Down‘ sounds like Orange Juice crossed with Avalon-era Roxy, and if that sounds like a bad thing to you we can never be friends. ‘Airborne‘ is basically Blondie‘s ‘Heart of Glass‘, stripped of its effortless NY cool and replaced with pure Victorian cheddar, from its squeaky chorus to its piano break. ‘Living Upside Down‘ is a glorious homage to Spandau Ballet‘s ‘Chant No1‘, and what was the last song that reminded you of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Chant No1‘? I’ll wager it was probably, er, Spandau Ballet’s ‘Chant No1‘. And jangly soul stomper ‘No Fixed Destination‘ is one of the best pop songs released in 2017, and features the ridiculous lyric “As I close my eyes, she’s strangely warm“. Dan, I think that’s because she might have pissed herself laughing at your lyrics.
Nine tracks, none of the usual instrumental interludes, no filler. It’s all bloody marvellous. The churlish amongst you might quite correctly point out that Cut Copy remain slaves to their influences rather than twisting them into exciting new shapes, and that the lyrics are, as usual, utter shite, but if these things bothered you you wouldn’t be reading this piece in the first place. Those of us who remain unbothered can enjoy yet another wonderful album from a band who are pathologically incapable of delivering anything less.