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Ice On the Dune

Empire of the Sun

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Album Review

After experiencing a worldwide hit with the title track of their 2009 album, Walking on a Dream, Empire of the Sun did the sensible thing and made a follow-up album that capitalizes on the glossy, sunny pop of that song. Instead of exploring some of the more esoteric avenues they started down on their debut, on Ice on the Dune the duo of Nick Littlemore and Luke Steele focus with laser-sharp intensity on creating an album that is 110 percent POP with no sharp edges and all glittering sunshine, blown out to gigantic proportions. In less skilled hands, such a tactic could lead to an over-produced trinket that's good for maybe half a listen and then gets tossed aside. Instead, Ice on the Dune ends up being everything a good modern pop record should be, and then some. The songs have super-sharp choruses, incessantly listenable arrangements built on acoustic, electric, and programmed instruments, and icy-cold but immediate beats, sometimes sounding like Katy Perry produced by Jeff Lynne, sometimes sounding like ELO produced by Katy Perry. Everything feels like a radio hit; everything feels custom made for listeners who like the sound of modern pop but are put off by the surfacy distractions that come along with it. Here you only have to deal with crazy headgear (check the cover) and the OTT ballad that ends the album in an overwrought splash of powdery tears. Otherwise, it's all perfectly crafted songs that draw on disco influences ("Old Flavours"), soft rock ("Ice on the Dune"), throbbing Madonna-inspired club jams ("Celebrate"), and Daft Punk ("Awakening"), along with a couple that give "Walking on a Dream" a fair run in the catchiness stakes ("Alive" and the incredibly bouncy and fun "Surround Sound"). Too many times having a big hit can send a group off the rails as it pursues the spotlight and tries to catch lightning again. The guys in Empire of the Sun manage to not only catch the lightning again, but their skill at crafting perfect pop, the depth in their songs, and the emotion their voices transmit make this record better than one might have ever expected. Modern pop doesn't get any better than this.

Customer Reviews

Makin me feel ALIVE

EOTS strikes again. I will most definitely be purchasing this album, as "Alive" has retained the good sound of EOTS while adding a new environment. By far, my most listened to artist.

YES!

I've been waiting for this for a long time now. Finally, Empire of the Sun is coming with another album.

So far, Alive is a really great song.

BEST YEAR EVER!!!

Phoenix, then Daft Punk, and now EOTS! The only thing that could make this better is MGMT (I think i heard they are working in one...)

I can't wait for this album! Alive sounds great!

Biography

Formed: Australia

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Taking their name from the J.G. Ballard novel that became a 1987 Steven Spielberg film, Australia's larger-than-life electro-glam-pop duo Empire of the Sun feature the Sleepy Jackson's Luke Steele and Pnau's Nick Littlemore. Steele had previously worked with Pnau on "With You Forever," a track from the band's 2007 self-titled third album, and the pair enjoyed collaborating so much that they started their own project, drawing inspiration from the likes of Phoenix and Daft Punk. In fall 2008, Empire...
Full Bio
Ice On the Dune, Empire of the Sun
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Customer Ratings

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