A turn towards the personal from the acclaimed Australian group...

Grammy-nominated Australian synth outfit Cut Copy are back again with another album. ‘Freeze, Melt’ is the aptly titled name for the band’s sixth album, which marks the group’s first full-length LP since 2017’s acclaimed ‘Haiku From Zero’. When reflecting on how the bands sounds has changed with the new album frontman Dan Whitford offers: “It’s the most ‘electronic’ album we’ve made, but also the least ‘dance’. In the past when we were in the studio, we were striving to move people on the dancefloor, but in this case, it was all about trying to move people in more of an emotional way.”

If their last album, ‘Haiku From Zero’ was centred around a night out, ‘Freeze, Melt’ is most definitely the dreary morning comedown. Released independently via their own imprint Cutters Records, the new release is easily their most vulnerable to date, uncovering a previously undiscovered accessibility.

It's an oft-quoted criticism of modern pop for its over-reliance on often-murky features, a world of ghost writers, PR bootcamps and artist influencers. Yet this Melbourne four-piece are turning that very notion on its head, in their decision to release the record independently, whilst taking a sharp turn inward on ‘Freeze, Melt’. This mordant reflection on modern-day life casts a cold shadow over the alarmingly over-connected world we have found ourselves in.

Their latest offering sees them shift their musical emphasis from making the mind rather than the body dance, prodding the subtle emotional manipulations that have lurked at the periphery of the Cut Copy oeuvre but never taken the spotlight.  ‘Cold Water’ is a warm opener, rich in dreamy vocals that allude to a world beyond the humdrum reality of day-to-day life. ‘Like Breaking Glass’ pushes you further into this trance-like state of escapism, enabled through enraptured arpeggiators and roto-rhythm.

A highlight of the album is ‘Running In The Grass’, taking you on a journey from a quaint percussive melody, to a rapturous chorus that shine a light on the restorative power of Whitford’s ethereal vocals. ‘Transit’ marks a poignant end to the album, sending us to celestial heights with a beautifully shambolic sound of a keyboard spinning frenzy.

This body of work is as meticulous as it is melancholy, which is what makes it so profoundly personal and universal at the same time.

8/10

Words: Josh Crowe

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