Empire Of The Sun – DNA

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Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore made a huge impact with their cheesy yet highly addictive debut Walking On A Dream. The album was an uneven journey blending awful cuts like “Delta Bay” or “The World” with the flamboyant falsetto disco of the title track,“Half Mast” and the wonderful melancholic summer anthem of “We Are the People”. These are track worth remembering, but the album also delivered surprises like the “Madrugada Eterna”-sounding “Country” or the spectacularly vulgar “Without You”. All this made Walking On A Dream a journey worth traveling.

Four years on and it seems as Steele/Littlemore have lost some of the heart and playfulness that went into their debut since most of Ice On The Dune sounds like a speeded “Standing On The Shore” stuck on repeat.  Not that Ice On The Dune is necessarily bad, it’s just boring. The album is missing almost all of the debuts adventurous spirit in favor of a crowd-pleasing club-ready sound. There’s almost no sense of variety and everything is blown up to stadium size proportions.

There are a couple of tracks that come close of rivaling Walking on a Dream’s better moments with “DNA” as the most contagious and spirited. It’s a punchy electro-pop gem with breezy acoustics reminiscent of “We Are The People” and have all the deliberate components of a huge summer anthem. And most likely it will succeed. The rest of the album will not.

Another highlight is the slowed down Fleetwood Mac-flirtation of “I’ll Be Around”. The track successfully capture the etheric qualities of the debut, but sadly, what these two cuts end up showing is what Ice On The Dune might’ve become.

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