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Bright Like Neon Love

Cut Copy
Bright Like Neon Love
(Modular Recordings)

I used to think of the word "pop" as a four-letter word, but lately I've learned to embrace the joy that it can sometimes hold (although I still have to admit steering far clear of most commercial pop music). Like other genre tags, it's somewhat hard to pin down an exact definition for pop music, but it still seems like a good description for lots of stuff that I hear. Bright Like Neon Love is one of those albums that I would definitely place into the pop category, and while it probably won't find a home next to the chart heavy hitters of buxom lead female singers and ex boy-band soloists, it's not as far removed as most things I find myself listening to.

Cut Copy is one Dan Whitford, and he makes music that sounds sort of like a cross between a more mainstream New Order and Daft Punk. Heavy basslines and post-disco beats abound while playful melodies and slightly austere vocals give things a very human touch. Released on the Modular Recordings label (home of the where-did-they-go? Avalanches), Bright Like Neon Love is a sunny, playful and light album made for summer listening.

Although it's fairly catchy, Whitford doesn't do himself any favors by opening the album with the repetitive "Time Stands Still." With bubbling synths and housey beats and all kinds of whoosy filters, it works fine, but not nearly as well as tracks like the following "Future," (which works in more subtle ways both lyrically and musically). "Saturdays" could very well be the big hit of the album if there's going to be one at all. Pumping with juicy synth basslines and handclapping beats, it feels like a Daft Punk b-side with stuttering vocals laid down over the top. Elsewhere, the production of Philippe Zdar (one half of Cassius) shines through, as on the mega airy-vocal filtering of "That Was Just A Dream" and "Going Nowhere."

Just when you think it's going to be all squiggly synths and disco-house beats, on comes "The Twilight," a weird instrumental track that again lays down the 4/4 beat but has some flaming guitar riffs chugging over the top of a repetitive bassline. It's nothing that sounds too out-of-place, as most of the edges have been smoothed off, but alongside the rest of the album it's pretty apparent that Whitfords strengths lie in lighter areas. The absolutely fun closer of "A Dream" is custom-made for pumping as every element of the song is synced and filtered to hit with the punchy beat. Cut Copy may very well be the French pop electronic equivalent of The Postal Service and their indie-electronic pop, and I have to admit that Bright Like Neon Love has been finding its way into my player a lot lately.

Rating: 7.5