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Cut Copy – Oval Space, London 26/11/13

28 November 2013, 11:42 | Written by Ami Lord

Australian electro-pop outfit Cut Copy’s new album has got a lot to live up to. Following the eighties synth-pop of earlier, well-loved albums In Ghost Colours and Zonoscope, Free Your Mind has moved into distinct 90s house territory although still making references to 60’s psychedelia, and the 80’s acid house scene.

Hackney’s Oval Space is an apt choice of venue, the modern converted warehouse throwing a more stylish nod to the 90’s rave scene. Suddenly lit in a glowing bright purple above a crowd shrouded in dry ice, the band seem to appear from nowhere. Opening with the title track from their new album frontman Dan Whitman becomes visible, donning a black bomber jacket whilst his hair blows back wildly in the stream of a wind machine, he looks like he’s just stepped out of a late 80’s music video.

They have a relentless energy on stage that allows for the whole band to dance around to the synchronised flashing of brightly coloured lights whilst still managing to deliver the slick, well produced sound that is typical of the records. There’s minimal chat from Whitman, one song often merging straight into another, with only cheering uproars from the crowd marking the transition as familiar twisting bass lines kick in.

Although the crowd were dancing right from the start, the real sense of excitement in the room doesn’t take off until they play tracks from their earlier albums; as the warping synths and disco beats of “Hearts on Fire” start to blast out, the energy seems to explode, the entire room jumping three feet off the ground, hands waving wildly in the air.

The set is a journey through the best hits, with tracks from the new album only occasionally interspersed between long runs of tried and tested crowd pleasers. Perhaps sparked by somewhat mixed reception Free Your Mind received from critics, there’s a sense that maybe they’re not as confident with their new sound as with the 80s synth pop, for which they are so well loved. No one in the audience is complaining though, when they play the Fleetwood Mac inspired ‘Take Me Over’ , everyone is singing along at the top of their voice.

Even though few and far between, some of the new tracks do stand out well, especially the catchy “We are Explorers”, with its very 90s inspired rhythmic synths, there’s a solid element of cool underlying the cheesy handclaps and harmonised backing vocals. Cut Copy may not be bringing anything particularly ground breaking, but they definitely know how to show a crowd a good time.

Photograph by Sebastien Dehesdin. Taken at The Forum, 2011.

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