by Mike Evans



CUT COPY — Free Your Mind
THE GOOD: Australian electronic outfit Cut Copy is back with a hippy dippy fourth.
THE BAD: Mind isn’t very ambitious at its core; the band neither progressing nor regressing. But it’s a “sunny” collection with an undeniably strong flow. Go with it and you will have a fantastic time.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Inspired by two different “summers of love,” our own in 1967 and the UK’s from 1989, Mind is an extremely optimistic set with tunes like “We Are Explorers” and “Meet Me in a House of Love.” The band isn’t reinventing the wheel here, but most tracks are seamless, infectious, hypnotic and damn near flawless.
Encompassing everything from Euro to techno-pop to ambient, Mind is more eclectic and memorable than many electronic collections. Think of it as a remastered mix-tape boasting recent New Order, mid-period Orb and vintage Shamen; dance floor anthems pumping traditional song structures. You’ve been in these surroundings before but they’re never disagreeable.
BUY IT?: Yes.

THE GOOD: Swedish indie poppers The Sounds return with their fifth.
THE BAD: The Sounds have always been good at blurring that fine line between rock and dance. Their tunes could even be “club friendly” with a slight remix. But Weekend seems to have lost some of that “infectious Sounds spark.” Even the track that claims “I Live for the weekend baby” feels somewhat sedate.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Thankfully though, Weekend boasts some airtight funky pop songs. Tracks like “Take it the Wrong Way” and “Emperor” still reel you in with big beats and melodies; Sweden eternally the land of pretty people and huge hooks.
Only time will tell if this is a bump in the road or the beginning of the Sounds’ end; the band at that awkward crossroads where they’re either going to come back rejuvenated or each new release will be one of diminishing returns.
BUY IT?: Your call. Weekend may not be the Sounds’ weakest album, but it does leave a weak first impression.

THE GOOD: Minnesota indie pop outfit Polica dodges the sophomore slump.
THE BAD: A modern synth-pop set on its surface, Shulamith is unsettling underneath. Be prepared to do a little work.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Front woman Channy Leaneagh and her crew deliver bright shimmering keyboards and dedicated melodies up top, but the record remains both haunting and challenging throughout its twelve cuts. A smattering of Grimes, a bit of Chvrches and a dash of 80s goth forms the basis of these sounds; tracks such as “Smug” and “Very Cruel” synthetic symphonies of light and shadow.
There’s also a rock element (not unlike Metric) that keeps the proceedings from being too slick; an enthralling nervous energy or danger looming in the distance. Listen once and Shulamith doesn’t feel as strikingly original as 2012’s Give You the Ghost. Listen twice though and you’ll realize the new songs are better; the band ready to progress slowly as opposed to burning out in a flash.
BUY IT?: Yes … and get set for more greatness yet to come.