Cut Copy Entreat You To 'Free Your Mind'
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 6, 2013 4:10PM
Photo by Michael Muller
Free Your Mind finds Cut Copy moving deeper into purely electronic territory, with lots of keyboards and drum machines replacing some of the analog sounds of past albums. Cut Copy has always been a dance band but this is the first time in years so much of the sound emanates from computers and sampling. It's the sound of a band embracing their past influences while mapping out their future path.
Free Your Mind isn't so much of a suggestion as a command. There's a call to give yourself and your search for bliss over to a higher power for the duration of the album and it doesn't really matter if that is a dance floor or a supreme being or a cult leader—all that matters is you release yourself. And this is where a certain darkness creeps in to keep us somewhat suspicious of the band's message. It's hard to accept such an absolute invitation as something that isn't also filled with risk. But we think that's the point Cut Copy is trying to make. Ultimately that suspicion should turn to questioning that will reveal the answers Cut Copy ultimately offers the listener.
It's a journey with many entreaties, beginning with the title track, as they order that "You gotta reach the sky if you want your life to shine." On "We Are Explorers" that theme is repeated as our narrator says he will, "Keep my hands up pointing to the sky / Until the daylight comes, into our minds to rescue us." But there's also a call to arms hidden in there too, to find spiritual bliss as the group chants "We are explorers when the beat goes on / We're on a journey to the morning sun / Together."
The listener and band as "believers" and "the sun" as a guiding light come up repeatedly throughout Free Your Mind and you'd be forgiven if you expected Cut Copy to show up in flowing robes and beatific smiles next time they hit your town. But in the end it appears as if the band is merely exploring all the different ways we try to find transcendence only to discover that in the end we're on our own. As the album nears its end the focus of the band's message comes to the fore on "Walking In The Sky" as they reveal, "You gotta live your life today / Tomorrow is a world away / You gotta go and free your mind / Cause life is of your own design." And I don't think that there is any mistake that this song is the only one that borders on a true chant, surrounded by warm analog sounds, to close out the album before dissolving into the lyric-less "Mantra." They've used the natural groupthink of the dance community to mirror a spiritual journey to reveal a basic truth.
The tools they've supplied throughout the album—sharp and shiny electro-pop that bubbles up and percolates all around you to swallow you whole—are there to aid your journey. It's a happy, inviting album; and the best way to enjoy it is to just give into the never-ending groove. In the end Cut Copy is merely restating that universal truth that has held up over the ages: free your mind and your ass will follow. But in the end it's only your ass you can be responsible for.
Cut Copy plays Nov. 14 at The Riv, 4746 N Racine, 8 p.m., $26.50, 18+
Free Your Mind is out now.