13 years after the release of their debut record, Australian electronic band Cut/Copy have just completed their 5th studio album, Haiku From Zero. Fans of the quartet are in for a treat. Haiku From Zero mixes musical genres, beats, and sounds from a variety of musical backgrounds (synth, pop, rock, funk), keeping listeners curious for more after each track.
You can feel it right from the beginning with ‘Standing in the Middle of a Field’. The song features the classic vocals of lead vocalist Dan Whitford, but nothing else about it is familiar. With an upbeat, experimental synth-pop chorus built into melodies that soar and dip at each turn, it’s easy to feel excited about what other tricks Cut/Copy has up their sleeve for this record. A little less clean, this song is still really, really catchy.
When discussing the album, Whitford mentioned Haiku From Zero being inspired by the mosaic of information & images we’re bombarded with on a day to day basis and the beauty that can be found in it. Although at times it does feel like a bit much, it’s actually really nice to hear an artist acknowledge the overly saturated world of social media we live in and how this affects his music & poetry.
The album does feel a little psychedelic and 80’s inspired, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s a little busy; the songs don’t really flow one into the next like so many artists seem to strive for. It may be kind of nice to pick up your favorite album and know exactly what to expect after each song, but Cut/Copy aren’t about the traditional with Haiku From Zero. Even for these veterans who’ve spent a big part of their career experimenting with an electronic, 80’s revitalized sound, critics agree they’re still finding a way to sound fresh.
Things start to get extra funky when you hit ‘Black Rainbows‘, which could have very literally walked right out of a completely different era of music. But if you think you’ve hit peak funk, wait until you reach the chorus of Airborne, where the lyricism is simple, but the musical arrangement is the height of 80’s revivalism.
Make sure you check out ‘No Fixed Destination’ to re-live the good feelings of traveling around freely with few other cares in the world. If you were to skip a song, it might be ‘Memories We Share’ which hits a few too many different octaves and musical instruments for my taste.
A record that is at times melancholic, thoughtful, and sweet, it’s overall a solid release for members of Cut/Copy. I don’t think fans will be disappointed in the least, and I sense new Cut/Copy lovers might emerge when they discover some of the gems on Haiku From Zero. If you like the slightly hazy, less clean-cut record from decades long gone (and deeply missed), this one will definitely be your jam.
Genre: Electronic pop/rock
Released by: Universal Music Canada
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars