Empire of the Sun released their new album, Two Vines, earlier today. Two Vines features 11 tracks, co-production from Peter Mayes, and contributions from Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Wendy Melvoin of The Revolution, and former David Bowie collaborators Henry Hey and Tim Lefebvre.
Two Vines comes as Empire of the Sun’s third studio album, preceded by Walking on a Dream and Ice on the Dune. Singles “Walking on a Dream” and “We are the People” from Walking on a Dream helped the Australian duo of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore burst on to the international music scene in 2008.
Walking on a Dream introduced a truly unique blend of sounds to audiences, peaking at No. 3 on the Australian music sales charts, No. 1 on U.K. dance albums charts and number 97 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. With spacey, auto-tuned notes from Steele and electronic 80’s synth-pop beats peppered with echoing guitar chords, Empire Of The Sun blended several genres, using sounds from electronic dance music, disco, pop, alternative, indie, and glam-rock.
After releasing Walking on a Dream, Empire of the Sun continued to grow their popularity by touring internationally. Intricate costumes and headdresses, background dancers performing Cirque du Soleil stunts, an electronic display of flashing psychedelic lights, and the on-stage antics of lead man Luke Steele lead to Empire of the Sun becoming a can’t-miss live act with a following of passionate fans.
Empire of the Sun continued to build on their success in 2013 with the release of their second studio album Ice on the Dune. Singles “Alive” and “DNA” helped propel Ice on the Dune to the top of international dance charts, again capitalizing on the genre-bending sound created on Walking on a Dream.
Like it’s title, the concept of Two Vines deals with the environment. The Australian duo pictured a future in which nature and plants took over cities, covering buildings and cars with vines while developing their album. Recording their album in the paradise of Hawaii, Steele was never far from nature, walking and surfing in the morning then writing and recording at night.
While listening to Two Vines, one can certainly feel and imagine the paradise in which Empire of the Sun were recording. On the album’s opening song “Before,” a synth-beat featuring a thumping melodic bass plays, one that could easily be heard in a new-age spa. Steele evokes thoughts of a beach in Hawaii with a smooth, auto-tuned voice singing “It’s a blue wave, crashing in the ocean, infinity, crystal creation.”
The album’s single “High and Low” features a more up-tempo, spacey, dance-beat with a catchy chorus of “I feel most times we’re high and low, if I had my way, never let you go.” The euphoric beat and unmistakable voice of Steele give “High and Low” the feeling of previous Empire of the Sun hits “Walking on a Dream” and “Alive.” Rather than the relaxing nature of “Before,” “High and Low” brings about feelings of energy and elation, perfect for Empire of the Sun’s colorful, exuberant live shows.
Empire of the Sun alternate between the spacey, trance sound on “Before” and the up-temp0, electronic dance sound of “High and Low” for most songs on Two Vines. Listening to Two Vines feels like a trip to a vacation far away, the listener is brought into a dream, only returning to reality after the last note. If anything, Two Vines can only be faulted for being too positive, at some points lacking lyrical depth or complexity.
Two Vines is now available to be streamed via Apple Music or downloaded via iTunes.
[Featured Image by Scott Roth/Invision/AP Images]