Cut Copy // Freeze, Melt // Album Review

My Cut Copy journey began like many others’… scrolling the menus of FIFA. I could not help but ponder over tactics and in-game substitutions a little longer when hits like ‘Lights & Music’ and ‘Where I’m Going’ came on. Swapping the controllers for schooners when I became of age, it was made clear to me just how synonymous Cut Copy are to the Australian music scene.

In Melbourne, not many artists are as identifiable as Cut Copy. Receiving numerous accolades and selling out tours across the globe, the indie-electronic veterans have ticked virtually every box over the past two decades. Their fanbase spreads wide into every pocket of multiple scenes, delighting indie crowds with their synth-pop equally as much as underground listeners with Dan Whitford and Tim Hoey’s expertly crafted DJ sets.

Unfortunately, some fans judged Cut Copy’s 2017 release, Haiku From Zero, as missing the mark. Apart from a few standouts, there was hesitancy throughout the record, tiptoeing between their original formula and newer sounds. However, following the pattern of this album with other projects such as Oceans Apart and January Tape, one could see a statement of potential in their next release.

Freeze, Melt is that record. Unencumbered by the setback of Haiku From Zero, Cut Copy’s sixth album sees them return with a whole new sound that has been awaiting their embrace, shining as confidently as Ghost Colours and Zonoscope.

Leading listeners on this new journey, album opener ‘Cold Water’ commands attention. Normally a Cut Copy certainty, drums are not a main feature for the first third of the track, setting the theme for the four-piece’s new atmospheric direction. Entrancing lo-fi arrangements naturally grow, causing each instrument and Whitford’s voice to soar.

‘Stop, Horizon’ similarly follows this blissful, free flow state as a singular, echoing guitar loop gathers complexity, triggering different sections of the brain as another layer enters, ultimately morphing seamlessly into synths. Full ascent in the record is reached in ‘Running In The Grass’ with a rushing chorus just before the album naturally arcs down to a close. Entirely instrumental, melancholic closer ‘In Transit’ instils the ambient, floating and emotionally driven feelings riding in this album.

Deep love in today’s uncertain context is the subject matter that is thematically spread across the record. The visceral force that intense feelings emit can equally knock the rhythms of the body off balance in the pounding ‘Like Breaking Glass’, as they do to the deeply spaced and delicate ‘Love Is All We Share’.

The effects of love can be conflicting as shown lyrically within the unravelling relationship in ‘Like Breaking Glass’: “With the light there is darkness/That runs right through”. Whitford is describing the duality people experience in this state, often feeling lost with nowhere to go.

Eerily, these lyrics stemmed from a period long before the world was in lockdown, amid a bitterly cold Scandinavian winter in 2018. In ‘A Perfect Day’, Whitford cries, “How can we see our way in the dark?” Listeners, now more than ever, are empathising with the feelings of blindness being shared in this record. How can one love at a time when the world is crumbling, and the human race is feeling so disoriented and directionless?

Poetic lyrics like, “I could dance in the silence/And think of you” provide a glimmer of hope that love will always find a way.

With their sixth studio album, Cut Copy have brought light into a time that needs it. In the past, the electronic pioneers’ music would urge you to move on the dancefloor, Freeze, Melt inclines you to move your mind.

You can find Freeze, Melt by Cut Copy everywhere across all streaming services.

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