For the Record: Cut Copy ‘Frees Minds’
Music columnist Meghan LeVota on the band’s fourth album
Cut Copy has been making music since 2001, and was one of my first discoveries in middle school as I first ventured into the alternative music scene. (I was lucky enough to have a cool uncle who’s in a band in LA to lead me in the right direction.)
The band combines EDM/dance with indie rock, creating a fan base that crosses over between two very different scenes. Cut Copy reinvents the influences of the ‘80s in a way that isn’t redundant, landing the group critical acclaim in its homeland of Australia; the band’s album In Ghost Colours even reached No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
The band’s fourth studio album, Free Your Mind, is exactly what it sounds like. The album flows consistently, feeling as if it were one track, starting with “Intro” and ending with the very similar “Mantra.” Both are meditative beats that loop the phrase “free your mind.” Unlike previous albums, Cut Copy is seemingly focused less on making popular singles. Instead, their efforts are solely directed towards musical expression.
The overall message of the album is conveyed with intentional steps. First, through the single, “Free Your Mind,” which opens with random sounds that go against the music. This symbolizes our unwanted, destructive thoughts that distract us from peace. This idea, so prevalent in the song (and album for that matter), connects listeners to the Zen practice of presence.
“We Are Explorers” sticks to its catchy, synth roots while stressing the point that all humans are in this together. Lead singer Dan Whitford channels this community feel through the lyrics, “You should join me sometime / I wanna dream up a new age / If the planets align / With a hunger for never.”
The third lesson that Cut Copy wants us to learn is expressed through “Let Me Show You Love,” my favorite track on the album. It emphasizes the power and importance of simple love. Though on the surface this song is simple and catchy, it actually includes many complex layers, much like love itself.
Cut Copy includes short, sampled interludes that manage to set the mood for the songs ahead. For example, “(Into the Desert)” gives off a barren vibe, and is the precursor to “Footsteps” and “In Memory Capsule.” These two songs speak of darker times when you feel you’re falling behind, or find yourself haunted by memories of the past.
On the other hand, “(Above the City)” jumpstarts the good vibes seen in “Dark Corners & Mountaintops,” “Meet Me In a House of Love” and “Take Me Higher.” This set of songs contrasts the previous darker themes with feelings of bliss.
The last portion of the album is not full of sorrow or pure joy. The interlude “(The Waves)” exemplifies peace, and this sets you up for highlight of the album, “Walking In the Sky.” Not only does this track perfectly sum up everything Cut Copy is trying to convey, but it truly showcases the band’s talent. Whitford’s vocals are pure and exposed, combined with the likes of bongo drums, hand claps, piano, guitar and, of course, the synthesizer.
Free Your Mind portrays a maturing band. No longer does Cut Copy rely on their cookie cutter synth pop antics (which, not gonna lie, I totally enjoy). They have released a comprehensive album complete with not only deep lyrics covering substantial topics, but slower, more complex tracks.
Cut Copy has further proved themselves as evolving musicians, gaining more and more exposure in the realms of indie rock and EDM/dance.