The Presets are gearing up for the release of their third studio album Pacifica – their first since 2008′s phenomenally huge Apocalypso – with the release of a new single entitled “Ghosts.” So far we’ve had two very different slices of electronic music from the Sydney duo. The first track, the bonkers “Youth In Trouble”, is a hyperactive 1990′s rave-up that wouldn’t sound out of place amongst a playlist of Underworld’s greatest hits or Rollo & Sister Bliss remixes. It’s been a long time since dance music on a Global Scale has been executed as well “Youth In Trouble.” If you’ve yet to hear the track be patient, the production makes you work hard for your climactic rewards but once you’re there you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
From the massive, stadium-ready rave-build-up’s to the complete acid house production throwdown, this six and a half minute club romper is exactly the kind of rave I want to hear in 2012 and is exactly the kind of rave radio had no idea it would be forced to once again slot into their watered-down commercial radio formats. “Youth In Trouble” peaks (ho ho!) and reaches ultimate-rave climax in its final 90 seconds and has left me panting for more since its arrival in June. The anticipation has just gotten itself thicker, too.
The stark in contrast “Ghosts” is the complete opposite of a rave-up and sees Julian’s vocals teeter into Chris Martin territory - not a bad thing, particularly when you take into effect how solid Martin’s vocals actually sound backdropped against sledge-hammering basslines. But with “Ghosts” the band have really stepped out of the soundscapes they’re familiar with, providing a mid-tempo gallop complete with tinges of Blackbox and the KLF. This may not be the radio-ready anthem the commercial FM networks were hoping for from the boys but there’s definitely a lot more commercially viable about “Ghosts” than there is in “Youth In Trouble.”
PACIFICA is released through Modular Records on September the 7th, 2012.
#30. CUT COPY – ZONOSCOPE
2011 saw Cut Copy deliver a mixed year of successes and disappointments. On the plus side earlier this year they put on what was probably their greatest live performance for their Melbourne album tour date, whereas on the Negative, for example, the video clip for one of the most majestic songs in their back catalogue, the stunning “Need You Now”, came complete with a sporting Mise-en-scène that remains the most embarrassing Australian Pop Music Video to date.
And then of course there’s Zonoscope, an album that started the year off in champion style but has, tellingly, aged in places over the last 10 months. “Need You Now” remains their most beautiful and precious song but the memory of that video clip does knock points off its brilliance. Stuff like Dandy Warhols ode “Where I’m Going” and bizarrely bonkers “Blink & You’ll Miss A Revolution” (which channels Cydni Lauper’s “Goonies” through its melody) both play as proper highlights along with “Need You Now,” but it’s the true staying power of monumental album closer (clocking in at just over 15 minutes) “Sun God”, the rip-snortingly good “Corner Of The Sky” and the effortless “Pharaohs & Pyramids” that keep this record within The Top 30 of the year. Each of these tracks are three of the greatest in the bands career and will live on as Cutters Classics in the years to come.
Totally boring filler “Take Me Over’ – which should never have even been a single – wastes a bit of time getting over and done with, much as the should-be-great-but-is-kinda-naff “Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat”, which is musically on point but loses itself vocally when the chorus chimes in. Interestingly though, Heartbeat is the only song on Zonoscope that could be mistaken for something lifted off the bands first.
Whilst Zonoscope may have seemed to be as good as 2008′s “In Ghost Colours” when it was initially released in February, as the months have rolled by the strength of the bands first two records have proven to be sharper and more cohesive than Zonoscope. That’s not to say it isn’t a great album, but the problem here is that Zonoscope often suffers from a few too many ideas being thrown into the one.