Six months after Jagwar Ma’s debut drew comparisons with vintage The Stone Roses, Melbourne quartet Cut Copy continue Australia’s unlikely love affair with the late 80s Madchester movement with a fourth album, Free Your Mind, largely inspired by Britain’s second Summer Of Love.
Due for a Nov. 5 release, co-produced with Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips), the follow-up to 2011’s Zonoscope also throws the odd nod to Ian Brown and company, such as the jangly “Waterfall”-esque riff on “Take Me Higher” and the sun-soaked baggy pop of the opening title track. But Free Your Mind is a far more clubbier affair than their compatriots’ “Mad For It” revival.
Current single “We Are Explorers” celebrates the euphoria of the dancefloor amidst a wave of firing lasers, shimmering synths and tribal percussion. “Let Me Show You Love” combines the anthemic vocal hook from K Klass’ UK house classic with some blissed-out slow-motion beats and a throbbing Giorgio Moroder-ish bassline, while “Meet Me In A House Of Love” is a six-minute whirlwind of Italo disco and acid house featuring an impossibly infectious saxophone riff.
Elsewhere, Cut Copy also pay homage to several of the scene’s other key players. There are shades of New Order with the low-slung bass of “In Memory Capsule,” the Hacienda-friendly floorfiller of “Footsteps,” and frontman Dan Whitford’s hazy listless tones, which recall Bernard Sumner throughout Free Your Mind’s fourteen tracks.
The penultimate number “Walking In The Sky,” a heart-warming blend of gospel, psychedelia and hippie-speak which adds a sense of gravitas to the band’s third summer of love intentions, channels the life-affirming vibes of Primal Scream’s Screamadelica.
It’s not quite clear what instigated Australia’s current interest in a sound whose heyday was both 25 years ago and thousands of miles away. But on the basis of Cut Copy’s vibrant and well-executed pastiche, long may it continue.