Album review: Empire of the Sun, Ice on the Dune (EMI)
I can't help feeling a little let down by this follow-up to 2009's Walking on a Dream, which seems to compress that album's imagination and stylistic variety through a small valve set midway between Daft Punk and The Scissor Sisters.
It's beautifully crafted, with no jagged edges at all disturbing the comforting flow of softly glowing, crystalline synth textures, but on track after track, the falsetto vocals and surging electropop pulses ultimately congeal into too saccharine a sonic experience, an artificially sweetened aural marshmallow. The technique works best on the winsome pop ballad “I'll Be Around”, but elsewhere the empty feelgood sentiments leave a disingenuous aftertaste of contrivance.
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