Album Review: Cut Copy – Freeze, Melt

By Live4ever - Posted on 27 Aug 2020 at 9:47am

Freeze Melt

Of all the noughties genre crossovers which crept up on everybody, the indie/EDM mash-up seemed to be the least likely to survive into the new decade.

Sure, the likes of Foster The People and Portugal. The Man have been racking up streampiles the size of mountains from this sort-of-club, sort-of-bedroom ready music, but it often felt like it was made deliberately not to have a lasting impression.

Formed in Australia almost twenty years ago, Cut Copy have been successful for the most part domestically: 2008’s In Ghost Colours and Zonoscope, released three years later, both reached the upper reaches of their home charts, while the latter also gave them some forward motion in the northern hemisphere.

Freeze, Melt arrives with the quartet, led by the only ever present member Dan Whitford, spread around the globe, Whitford himself writing what became the new material after moving to Copenhagen. As part of the process, a not unprecedented thing happened: having released a batch of down-tempo, ambient tracks in 2016, the singer returned to these kind of soundscapes as a base, unravelling in the process some of the more complicated and less radio-centric aspects of the band’s sound.

The most direct consequence of this can be found in the Moog-heavy instrumental closer In Transit, but whilst this is predictably an oasis of calm, an air of detachment is also evident; as an example Love Is All We Share pitter-patters coyly, a delicately put worry about a future where society is isolated by the technology designed to connect it.

For a band who’ve decided to slide towards the left of their chosen field, a certain amount of renewed confidence is required. Stop, Horizon rolls for more than half its five-minutes-plus without a voice, a song that arguably didn’t actually need one with the scant words more or less an afterthought, while A Perfect Day and Rain continue down this new, icier path, the latter always feeling for one big musical level up, a peak frustratingly never delivered.

For those wrestling with these changes, the familiar ground of the opening two tracks will at least be something to cling to. Opener Cold Water, after navigating a tentative first passage, becomes surer footed as it goes on, while Like Breaking Glass shows less modesty, proving that despite their separation the foursome are still good for doses of ear friendly, assured synth-pop.

Even after the more expected goods have been delivered, the feeling that Freeze, Melt is both a little too brief and more a collection of parts than a whole is hard to shake. It certainly doesn’t register much on the indie/EDM-o-meter, which we can all probably agree is a good thing.

But though Whitford and his colleagues have bravely shifted direction, they find themselves without a final destination – and with an outcome far from totally realised.


Andy Peterson

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