Like too many albums, Empire of the Sun’s debut is front-loaded — extremely so. Luckily, there’s enough awesome in the release’s first 20 minutes to carry the whole thing, a burden tracks such as title track “Walking on a Dream” and “Standing by the Shore” shoulder with aplomb and synth hooks. The duo goes straight for kitsch: their album cover is an absurdist bit of ’80s futurist fantasia, and the songs don’t deny the aesthetic. “Walking on a Dream” sounds like Phil Collins soundtracking Miami Vice by way of 2008: slick, sincere and, um, erect.
Walking On A Dream closes with “Without You,” which finds singer Luke Steele (also of The Sleepy Jackson) contorting his nasal croon into Robert Smith-like positions. It’s a gem in and of itself, but next to the first half’s pulsing excitement, it’s also another in a sea of neo-synth ballads. It probably sounds great on a yacht.
Empire of the Sun – “Walking On A Dream”: mp3
(Empire of the Sun MySpace)
2008: We knew ye well. Click below for more of last year’s best music.