Monday, 24 June 2013

Empire Of The Sun - Ice On The Dune

The title of ‘Ice On The Dune’ really is appropriate for Australia’s Empire of the Sun.  Their glossy alt-pop production is a cornucopia of icy synths that bring a touch of sunshine to a dismal summer. 

‘Ice On The Dune’ follows 2009’s ‘Walking On A Dream’, both featuring some truly dreadful cover art.  Featuring Emperor Steele and Lord Littlemore (as the duo prefer to be called), it looks like something from a cheap 80s fantasy graphic novel, airbrushed to an impossible sheen.  It also suggests a sense of the outlandish, of crazy creativity, neither of which can really be found here.

Opening orchestrated track Lux certainly marks a bombastic start to the album, with its oriental trimmings and visions of grandeur.  The remains of the album, however, is far safer.  That’s not to say this is a bad album – far from it.  Following track DNA features a sparkling chorus and a wash of glorious synths; current single Alive is a joyous affair; Ice On The Dune follows directly from Walking On A Dream on the duo’s debut album with its breezy melodies; and I’ll Be Around has a laidback, late-night beach vibe.  The pop hooks are very much alive.

It’s difficult to pick a standout track however.  Where ‘Walking On A Dream’ had some obvious highlights and took some clear risks, ‘Ice On The Dune’ is its antithesis with fewer outstanding tracks but a more consistent overall feel that ultimately falls a little flat.  Only final track Keep A Watch differs from the usual sound in a song that’s weirdly almost reminiscent of Bowie (and not in a good way).

‘Ice On The Dune’ is a solid album of alternative synth-pop that provides a suitably oceanic soundtrack to the summer.  However, the duo are yet to properly fuse their music with their creative dress sense.


Gizzle’s Choice:
Ice On The Dune
I’ll Be Around

Listen: ‘Ice On The Dune’ is available now.