Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Empire of the Sun – We Are The People

Remember January? The Big in 2009 lists? Crazy times, man… crazy times…


Dan MacRae: For a man with a reputation as a lunatic, Luke Steele seems to know his way around a pleasant, inoffensive AC pop tune. It’s a dreamy bit of fun, but I can’t help but get the sneaking suspicion that “We Are The People” is crucial to the playlist at Eckhart Tolle book signings. Shudder.

Alex Macpherson: Take one Studio or Mountain Of One acoustic intro and loop it purposelessly (be sure not to let it go anywhere or build into anything too beautiful); add trite, MGMT-style hippy-dippy lyrics; top it all off with some pinched, constipated singing which will ensure the immediate rupture of any blissed-out mood you may have inadvertently created. Just what the Balearic revival needed!

Chuck Eddy: As Sons of the Aussie Sun go, not nearly as fun as turn-of-the-’90s AC/DC-type boogiemen Kings Of The Sun. But the guy with the ridiculous headdress designed to match the Outback cacti whimpers with at least a pinch of Placebo in his vibrato, fine by me. The song’s too slow to dance to, my ears tell me, but also too frilly (vocalwise, rhythmwise, clothingwise) to feel merely “indie.” Just airy old techno-haircut-pop — could have come out at pretty much any time in the past 25 years. And as techno-haircut-pop duo tradition dictates, I have no clue what the other guy does.

Jonathan Bradley: Empire of the Sun is best appreciated as a safeguard against a Luke Steele who, as talented as he may be, is too eager to wallow in his own crapulence when placed in charge of his own destiny. Nick Littlemore’s sleek, finely directed electronics allow Steele to concentrate only on his strongest qualities: his knack for a winning melody, and, even more strikingly, his sweetly strained country lilt. But a tether on Steele’s ego alone cannot transform this flat synth pop into something vibrant; worse, the uninspiring graft of rock structure onto dance beats reminds only that Cut Copy made the same trick look effortless on last year’s In Ghost Colours. Armed with some strong ideas, Empire of the Sun come up with breezily likeable singles like “Walking On a Dream.” On “We Are the People” they have only a rich palette. It’s not enough.

Matt Cibula: Unfair to say this is hookless — they’re there, I just don’t like any of them.

John M. Cunningham: “Walking on a Dream” struck me as straight-up Cut Copy-inspired synth-pop on an Australia Uber Alles tip, but dude’s strangled vocals and strummy guitar here put me in the mind of MGMT, too. Which isn’t a complaint at all, since those are two of the most effortlessly catchy bands working today, and I have a feeling I’ll be humming this creamy jam for at least a week.

Martin Skidmore: If David Bowie had some severe throat illness and took years to only partially recover, he might sound like this – in which case I imagine he might have the sense to stop singing. An instrumental might score as high as 3 or 4, but that’s not what I’m reviewing.

Hillary Brown: There’s something kind of limeade by the pool about this chorus-driven soft little dance-pop number. Or maybe it’s just got a kind of cultish appeal. I’ll at least consider wearing the Nikes if I get to bask in the vocal glow.

Jordan Sargent: Wake me up when the balearic remix drops.

Additional Scores

Ian Mathers: [5]
Michaelangelo Matos: [3]
Alex Ostroff: [4]

3 Responses to “Empire of the Sun – We Are The People”

  1. 4? that’s a bit harsh.

  2. If I’d seen that image, I would have docked these guys a couple of points.

  3. 4 is excessively generous.