There are few better named bands than Cut/Copy, and although their magpie approach hasn’t warmed them to critics, no one’s told tonight’s Oval Space crowd. After all, it’s a struggle to begrudge a group having such a good time that they should be paying you. They don’t so much wear influences on their sleeves, as tattoo them on their faces.
If Cut Copy weren’t onto their 4th album you might wonder why they’ve suddenly discovered the loops and beats of the hedonistic late 80s, but it’s been inevitable since their disco-fused, albeit messy, debut. Fittingly, their recent Free Your Mind abandons the ambition of 2011’s Zonoscope in the name of having a good time.
Equipped with huge stinging riffs, and abandoning Fleetwood Mac’s (1987) Tango in the Night, they’re now waving at police helicopters from haystacks at 6am like the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act never happened.
From the off, singer Dan Whitford’s hair buffets in his fan like mountaintop videos never went out of fashion. They’re as tight as soup in a bowl, with the usual emphasis on percussion and more cowbells than Austria. It's so electronic you wonder what the band are actually doing, but they are busy exchanging guitars for bongos, for keyboards, as they blast the crowd without taking breath. From the dipping keyboard riff of Memory Capsule, to the effortless melodies emerging from the strobe for the slowly simmering So Haunted, they know they’re loved.
The classic Italo-house of Last Rhythm haunts their piano fingers anthem Heart on Fire as it drifts away on its blissful New Order bass line. In fact, Corner of the Sky implies their template is the Mancs’ Jonathan Demme directed video to The Perfect Kiss, with it's chorus even dragging the Hoxton’s trucker caps and beards to life.
The joyous highlight of the recent album We are Explorers flirts with the same glorious 303 bass-line squiggles as Pet Shop Boys’ own recent love letter to 1989, Vocal, until Cut Copy have exhausted synonyms for ‘upbeat’.
Their world is the rush, not the comedown, with the exuberance occasionally exhausting, like being licked by a puppy on MDMA. Let Me Show You Love in particular searches for, and fails to find, its natural conclusion. They aptly close with the hedonist (and perfect pop) of Light and Music. There’s no relent, all star gazing, never navel, and while they may lack the cool of say compatriots Jagwar Ma, with songs as shamelessly good as this who cares.
Photo Credit: Tim Boddy