Australian electro-pop duo Empire of Sun have been keeping cool since their 2008 debut Walking on a Dream. The album was all the synth / psych pop you could handle, a sort of dream-like vehicle that wound its way through sci-fi stories and otherworldly soundscapes. At times the album was transcendent (“We Are the People,” “Walking On a Dream”) but more often than not the tracks drifted into disparate genre lands, ranging from midi jazz to strage electro-psych, and failed to make an impression on U.S. audiences.
This summer Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore are making a comeback with their sophomore effort Ice on the Dunes (out June 14th), an album that is decidedly more cohesive in its sonic message – it’s a dance record, plain and simple. Thanks to international collaborations with a slew of top pop producers, Dunes sees the duo making deliberate efforts to zero in on what made the great parts of their debut so great with Rolling Stone calling it an expansive “American pop” record.
Empire of the Sun’s weirdo / glam essence hasn’t been wiped out by mainstream dreams entirely, though. Their quirky indulgences are still visible in the over-the-top artwork and the 80s MTV aura of songs like “Concert Pitch.” And if you’re at Made in America on August 31st, you won’t be able to miss the duo’s carnivalesque stage theatrics. Stream the album over at Rolling Stone and watch the video for “Alive” below. Tickets and information for the festival date can be found here.
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