For all the hyperbolic local acclaim The Presets have garnered this year (Triple J award, Arias, Smac Awards and headlining slots) their reception internationally has fluctuated between lukewarm and indifferent.
Contrast that to the near universal support for their label mates and Melbourne brethren Cut Copy – particularly by a certain holier than thou online publication and I’m left asking two questions. Why aren’t Cut Copy more acclaimed in Australia and why aren’t The Presets more acclaimed internationally? What about their different sensibilities or indeed the sensibilities of Australian music fans and American music fans in general attributes to their varying success?
Earlier this year Pitchfork gave Apocalypso a 5.8 saying “Seriously, hating on the Presets is like hating on Cheetos. You know damn well what you’re getting, that the product leaves fingerstains, and that it is not “good,” but can still be a tad awesome, occasionally.”
“In Ghost Colours” on the other hand received an 8.8 and was heaped with flowery praise such as: “Pop lovers will find lots to love here, and if there’s any justice, this record will keep them swooning through the summer. Regardless of what kind of audience it ultimately finds, though, In Ghost Colours earns its smiles with a combination of ingenuity and easiness that you don’t often come by, and for that, even in April, it already feels like a triumph.”
Now I know it’s futile to quantify something as subjective as music but why is Cut Copy deemed a critical triumph while The Presets are relegated to guilty pleasure? Judging from last weekend’s Nevereverland, The Presets are more popular than ever and now qualify as a bonafide festival juggernaut. Seriously two guys couldn’t get more people in motion even if they had dynamite strapped to their chests. Maybe that’s why the indie schmindie press snigger, because they craft tunes with maximum damage in mind. And there’s just no more room for four to the floor bangers after Justice made everyone’s ears bleed. Except of course, in Australia where shirtless rugby players and tan princesses go bat shit for it.
Cut Copy on the other hand, have been touted as the thinking man’s dance act and not in any hokey IDM way, a sentiment compounded by the involvement of DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy who had production duties on “In Ghost Colours”. Their catchy as fuck songs blended shoe gaze, new wave, krautrock, post punk and disco – all key ingredients to DFA patriarch James Murphy’s “Sound of Silver” (a top five album on Pitchfork’s top 100 last year). Can Cut Copy reach those critical heights this year? Because lets face it, despite all the Pitchfork bashing their end of year list actually means something (even if we don’t want to admit it) and probably have more clout than an Aria. Using Pitchfork’s “readers poll” as a barometer their chances look good.
Here are the reader’s top 25 albums of 2008:
01. TV on the Radio: Dear Science
02. Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes / Sun Giant EP
03. Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend
04. Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago
05. Deerhunter: Microcastle / Weird Era Cont.
06. Portishead: Third
07. MGMT: Oracular Spectacular
08. Cut Copy: In Ghost Colours
09. M83: Saturdays=Youth
10. No Age: Nouns
11. Girl Talk: Feed the Animals
12. Sigur RÃ³s: MeÃ° suÃ° Ã eyrum viÃ° spilum endalaust
13. The Walkmen: You & Me
14. Dodos: Visiter
15. Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer
16. WHY?: Alopecia
17. The Hold Steady: Stay Positive
18. Nine Inch Nails: The Slip
19. Of Montreal: Skeletal Lamping
20. Okkervil River: The Stand Ins
21. Lil Wayne: Tha Carter III
22. Beach House: Devotion
23. Crystal Castles: Crystal Castles
24. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
25. Beck: Modern Guilt