A few months ago when I first received a copy of Walking On A Dream, the debut album by Australia's Empire Of The Sun, I got one eyeful of the disc's fantastical cover art (elephants and tigers and Adam Ant facepaint, oh my!) and thought, "Okay....either this is going to be the worst thing I've ever heard, or it's going to be the BEST thing I've ever heard."
And I slapped it in my stereo right away to find out.
So I am thrilled to report that--as cool as it might as been if Empire Of The Sun had turned out to be the pseudonym'd secret side-project of Sigfried & Roy (as that dazzling cover pic certainly, fascinatingly implied)--it is actually the side duo of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore (from the Australian cult bands the Sleepy Jackson and Pnau, respectively). Empire's music immediately brings to mind a sort of more ethereal (and dare I say even more melodic) MGMT, and it very well just may be the best thing I've ever heard--at least in 2009:
And it turns out I am not alone in my Sun worship. I can't help but notice whenever I play Empire's album in Yahoo!'s cubicle environment, various co-workers gravitate towards my desk to excitedly ask what I'm listening to. But if the endorsement of me and my co-Yahoos is not convincing enough, get this: When asked what new music he's currently digging in a recent InStyle magazine interview, Justin Timberlake cited Walking On A Dream. Additionally, Empire's tracks "Standing On The Shore" and "We Are The People" are being featured this season on Entourage.
But perhaps most impressively of all, Luke Steele sings on the first track of Jay-Z's upcoming The Blueprint 3, "What We Talkin' About"--appearing on one of 2009's most anticipated albums alongside such A-list guests stars as Rihanna, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Kid Cudi, and Drake.
And thus, the Australian electronic dream duo have started to build their global empire.