Monday 18 December 2017

Duo put developments on ice

Luke Steele, one half of Empire of the Sun.
Luke Steele, one half of Empire of the Sun.
Ice on the Dune, Empire of the Sun.
John Meagher

John Meagher

Album Review: Empire of the Sun Ice on the Dune (Virgin) 2 STARS

After wowing with their 2009 debut album, Australia's finest recent exports are on choppy ground with this follow up.

Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore continue to draw from the same palate, but their lavish brand of electro-pop doesn't sparkle nearly as much as they managed on Walking on A Dream.

The element of surprise has largely been eschewed on an album that appears over-produced and there is something decidedly one-note about songs that are built from synthesizers and falsetto vocals.

But the pair have enough smarts to fashion memorable moments – not least the glittering DNA (which wouldn't have been out of place on their debut album) – and the arrestingly low-key I'll Be Around.

For the most part, however, Ice on the Dune is the sound of an act afraid to emerge from their comfort zone.

KEY TRACKS DNA; I'll Be Around

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