Cut Copy
Bright Like Neon Love
2004
B+



i’ll spare you the history lesson. Needless to say, rock and dance have always had an intimate connection with one another, whether it be favorable or not. Dan Whitford, aka Cut Copy, bleeds the line between rock and dance (landing much more often on the dance side than not) in an expert way. Which is no surprise considering the band is on the same label as the Avalanches.

So, it’s dance: the major instrument here is keyboard. The drums are synthetic; the beat is nearly always a plodding 4/4 stomp designed directly for the dancefloor. The vocals are frequently one sung refrain, repeated over and over again to diminished effect of an already clichéd idea: “His heart is breaking”, “Going nowhere” and “Will they meet again one day?” being prime examples.

But it’s also rock: there are no shortage of guitar lines mixed in with the beeping and buzzing keyboards. The tracks rarely exceed four minutes and nearly always follow a verse/chorus structure that is belied by the fact that Whitford’s current favorite book is Cauty and Drummond’s “How To Write A Number One Hit”. And, hey, there are vocals, however vapid they sometimes sound in their sentiment and delivery.

So, what is it? Synth pop? Not really. It’s a tad too beefy on the bass to be termed as such. Instead, it’s something closer what Daft Punk would end up with if they set out to make a pop record with a guitar playing frontman. They’d overpower him in most situations (“Time Stands Still”, “Future”, “Going Nowhere”), but utilize the guitar when it suited them as well (“The Twilight” and “Bright Neon Payphone”).

Which is to say that Bright Like Neon Love sounds like fun incarnated. “Time Stands Still” has a buoyant hand clapping breakdown and a madly arpeggiated chorus and “Going Nowhere” makes like the lost B-side from Basement Jaxx’s Rooty, acting as sonically simpler, but no less infectious, cousin to “Where’s Your Head At?” Seriously, when listening, or perhaps even dancing, to these tunes it matters little what you call the thing: it merely matters that the slamming beat plays on and on (which in some cases, as noted above, doesn’t happen long enough for satisfaction).

Bright Like Neon Love may be too rock for the dance heads and too dance for the rockists, but for those without ideological hang-ups, it should be merely one of the most fun and exciting releases of the year.



Reviewed by: Charles Merwin
Reviewed on: 2004-12-15
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