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Music Picks

Cut Copy's Indie Summer Dance Music

'In Ghost Colours': melodic, experimental, nostalgic beats.

Elaine Corden 19 Jun

Elaine Corden writes regularly about music for The Tyee.

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Goodbye youth; hello dancing.

It is with deep sadness that I announce that on June 21, 2008, I will begin the last summer of my 20s. Scoff if you want. Tell me I'm still a kid. Oprah says 40 is the new 30 and 30 is the new 20, but she also tells me to call my genitals my "va-jay-jay" and encourages people to use The Secret to voodoo-think their way into untold riches and fortune.

Yes, this is the last summer of my 20s, and though I will likely soldier on in just the same fashion, I know that physical realities and self-respect will not let me do certain things in the future. It's happening already.

Recently, after a full day at the beach with some 25-year-old friends, I endeavoured to skip a nap, and head straight down barbecue lane into the late night. The evening ended prematurely, with me sneaking a nap on the host's sofa until those aforementioned "kids" discovered me, jumping on me and shaking me while I covered my face, and helplessly mewled, "I'm thiiiiiiiiirty."

But I am not. Yet. And so I must do summer 2008 up in extraordinarily silly fashion. My first step was to pick myself off that couch (read: allow myself to be dragged) and join the living room dance party already in progress. The record on the stereo, which lit me up from within, is this week's music pick, from a band I know will soundtrack many a summer misadventure this year, not just for me, but for anyone who enjoys dancing like a fool into the wee hours of the morning, but probably wouldn't be caught dead at a nightclub.

Cut Copy, from Melbourne, Australia makes a universal kind of indie dance music that pleases almost everyone: melodic and verse-chorus-verse enough for pop purists, but noise-y and experimental enough to satisfy music snobs. It's sweet without being syrupy, and has that rare gift of evoking nostalgia for moments that haven't even happened yet. (The undisputed champion song for this phenomenon will always be the Smashing Pumpkins heartbreaker "1979.")

From the first track on their latest album In Ghost Colours, it's clear the band owes a huge debt to '80s dance pioneers New Order. "Feel The Love" is an attention grabber, with its wash of sun-kissed sounds and its eminently sing-along-able chorus, flanked with retro synths and vocoders. It sounds like a mess, but before it gets too esoteric, it charms again with a verse -- Cut Copy knows the recipe for a pop song, and though they may monkey around with it, the group's obvious intention is to stick its delicious hooks into your heart.

By the time the Pet Shop Boys-indebted "Out There On The Ice" hits, you should at least be dancing in your chair, if not on top of it. It comes on all new-wave seriousness, but descends, just before anyone remembers dancing on the speakers at Luv-A-Fair (or whatever the grubby club was in your town). Just as the album is in peril of aping the generation taste forgot, it draws in modern sounds, and aligns itself with other cotemporary electronic pop acts like Air, Daft Punk and Hot Chip. The album ends perfectly, too, with the come-down loveliness of "Eternity, One Night Only," giving listeners enough pause to stop and gaze at the stars that will have surely collected above their heads.

Yep, this one's a winner. Summer 2008's gonna be the best one ever, and I'm off the couch for good.

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