The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Emily Ritchie

Two Vines Em­pire of the Sun EMI Aus­tralian elec­tron­ica duo Em­pire of the Sun emerged in 2008 as a fas­ci­nat­ing pair of oth­er­worldly crea­tures. Luke Steele and Nick Lit­tle­more shrouded them­selves in flow­ing silk robes and ex­trav­a­gant head­dresses, and had their faces painted with vi­brant, glit­tery makeup. It’s an eye-pop­ping aes­thetic that has be­come syn­ony­mous with the band, along with its retro-yet-fu­tur­is­tic brand of un­com­pli­cated synth-pop. The pair first burst on to our air­waves with its hit de­but al­bum Walk­ing on a Dream (2008) and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing tit­u­lar sin­gle. Eight years on comes its third stu­dio al­bum, Two Vines. Co-pro­duced by Jonathan Sloan and Peter Mayes (Sia, The Killers), the al­bum fea­tures small yet note­wor­thy con­tri­bu­tions from A-list mu­si­cians in­clud­ing Lindsey Buck­ing­ham from Fleet­wood Mac, Wendy Melvoin from Prince’s band Rev­o­lu­tion, and two for­mer David Bowie col­lab­o­ra­tors, Henry Hey and Tim Le­feb­vre. Lit­tle­more says Two Vines was in­spired by the im­age of “a mod­ern city over­taken by jun­gle”, an en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cept that sadly rarely sur­faces in ei­ther the lyri­cal or mu­si­cal con­tent. The al­bum is rel­a­tively mel­low. It’s not sur­pris­ing to learn the al­bum was partly recorded in Hawaii. Opener Be­fore bursts with an in­fec­tious en­ergy that sets the al­bum up well, but things sel­dom im­prove be­yond that. Ex­cept for sin­gle High and Low, which in­cludes spir­ited hooks and spa­cious synths, the songs largely fiz­zle amid repet­i­tive chordal struc­tures and sim­plis­tic lyrics. There’s No Need fea­tures off-putting lev­els of vo­cal auto-tune, and tracks To Her Door and Dig­i­tal Life are dreamy yet dull. Two Vines is only a slight im­prove­ment on the unin­spired Ice on the Dune (2013). Em­pire of the Sun seems stag­nant.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.