Borrowing from too many influences can be a recipe for disaster, especially when clever becomes kitschy
. Cut Copy seems to understand the art of subtlety, though. Originally the solo project of DJ Dan Whitford, Cut Copy adopted drummer Mitchell Scott and bassist/guitarist Tim Hoey in 2004 for its first full-length, Bright Like Neon Love
. But unlike that uneven debut, In Ghost Colours
achieves its success by striking the right balance between its competing genres—rock and electronic—without sacrificing either.
Light and airy opening track, “Feel the Love,” is all rainbows and butterflies with its synthesized flute-flutters and cooing chorus, but leads right into “Out There On Ice,” a moodier cut that sounds more like vintage New Wave. This effective sequencing runs throughout the album, naturally moving one song to another so that the record feels more like a live show, cheered on by a pre-recorded audience. Even in its rock-heavy moments (“So Haunted”), the Australian trio tames harsh, frenzied guitar riffs with ethereal echoes more akin to Panda Bear than the progressive house scene Cut Copy is sometimes lumped into. By the time the album's strongest moment arrives in the danceable “Hearts on Fire”/“Far Away” combo, it's clear that Cut Copy is mining a rich musical amalgam that its contemporaries have yet to discover.