Empire of the Sun

Ice On the Dune

Astralwerks

Jul 01, 2013 Issue #46 - June/July 2013 - Charli XCX Bookmark and Share


If you were among the million-plus individuals who (legally) purchased Empire of the Sun's debut album, Walking On a Dream, you will not be disappointed with its follow-up, Ice On the Dune. The second lovechild of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore shares its predecessor's compelling cinematic, sci-fi/fantasy personality both aurally and visually. In fact, Ice On the Dune is Walking On the Dream Mark II, only with more sheen, more elements of '80s synth-pop, wackier, more incomprehensible stories being told, and more soundtrack readinessfor a psychedelic, Technicolor film that exists in its creators' minds and is realized in their videos.

Harnessing a number of pop hit-making producers and mixers guarantees Ice On the Dune the requisite polish and shininess necessary for everyman's ear. On their own, however, the songs still have the relentless hooks, the danceable rhythms, the chiseled melodies, plus the mysterious lyricism that production alone cannot create. The effervescent "DNA" twinkles like a floodlit fountain with a lighthearted, irrepressible chorus. "Concert Pitch" bounces along a bike path of synthetic basslines. "Old Flavours" goes further back into the soundtrack vault, channeling corny '70s police action adventure flicks in the best possible way while the sugary "Celebrate" turns the disco corner at the threshold of the '70s and '80s with its bubbly chorus. Steele's voice rises and falls, in turns falsetto and verging on tenor, riding the waves of the multi-layered compositions.

Anything on Ice On the Dune would have been on heavy rotation during the time MTV took its cues from New Wave bands funneled through the U.K. Ice On the Dune also would have been a regular guest of the U.K.'s now-defunct music chart program, Top of the Pops. Thirty years later, it's time to do it all over againever more stylishly. (www.empireofthesun.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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