FINAL COUNTDOWN: CAPITALISM PART TWO.
Thanks to all the lovely folks who voted for me to be Queerty's Music reviewer. This won't be an easy win with sir Daniel Villarreal and my good digi-friend Bradley Stern as competition, but I'll never go down without a fight. All five finalists, including myself, were asked to review Empire of the Sun's Walking On A Dream. Below is my take on the album:
Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore are no strangers to success. After fronting two successful groups, The Sleepy Jackson and Pnau, the indie-gods are totally over “the band-thing”. That’s precisely why their new project, Empire of the Sun, isn’t a band—it’s an amorphous theatrical experience. Musical silly putty, if you will.In celebration of making it this far, here is Pegase's remix of the album's title track. Click through to read the rest of the reviews or vote below for me--Joe John Sanchez III! Another round of (at least 24 hour) on-the-hour posting will commence at 9:00pm.
This free-spirited outlook may intrigue theoretically, but their debut Walking On A Dream is consequently incoherent. While the first four songs flow effortlessly as a series of ‘80s-tinged pop gems, everything comes to a screeching halt with the strikingly odd stomp of “Delta Bay”. It’s inappropriately followed by “Country”, a mostly instrumental track reminiscent of “Laura’s Theme” on Twin Peaks. From there, the remaining songs recall everything from Basement Jaxx to Prince’s cheesier ballads, impressive when isolated but collectively failing to recapture the earlier magic.
The psychedelic elements and falsetto vocalizing may elicit comparisons to MGMT, but a deeper listen indicates that the androgynous duo conjure their flamboyant image from older influences. Their mix of outer-space antics, soul searching and appropriated culture calls to mind George Clinton’s P-Funk mythology and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, with pitch-shifted vocals on some songs eerily evoking Bowie’s minions in Labyrinth. But unlike Jareth the Goblin King, Emperor Steele and Lord Littlemore act as benevolent leaders fixated on spreading peace, joy and colorful imagery. As contrived and idealistic as their goals may sound, they resonate heavily in our distressed times, making these boys as close to indie-pop Obamas as humanly possible.