Note: Empire of the Sun is the latest project from The Sleepy Jackson’s Luke Steele. It’s a collaboration between him and fellow Australian Nick Littlemore (of the Australian group P’Nau).
Sound: A kaleidoscopic burst of glammy psychedelia, dreamy electro, disco funk, light-FM schmaltz and a scenic, cinematic instrumental. Regardless of the particular style of each individual track, you can count on hearing lots of falsetto, layered harmonies and slick, pop-friendly arrangements—plus, the occasional talk/sung rap.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Walking on a Dream”; “Swordfish Hotkiss Night”; “Standing on the Shore”
Medium Rotation tracks: “We Are the People”; “Half Mast”; “Delta Bay”; “Tiger By My Side”
Recommended: In some ways, Empire of the Sun feel like the MGMT of 2009—androgynous vocals, retro synths, pop savvy and an abundance of vibrant colors (both conjured by the music and incorporated into their on-stage fashion). So if you’re fond of one of last year’s biggest breakout success stories, you’re likely to at least enjoy the highlights on Walking on a Dream—though don’t expect the tunes to get lodged in your head the same way MGMT songs like “Electric Feel,” “Kids” and “Time to Pretend” did. The radio-ready cheesiness they work into a couple of tracks should have you scratching your head a bit, though. So will the momentum-killing, epic instrumental in the middle. Empire of the Sun’s bold eclecticism is challenging, but the majority of their music demands your attention.