2008 was definitely an interesting year for me. I completely look back with absolutely no nostalgia of being a 7th grader who was overweight with a face full of acne. As if that didn’t suck enough, my social credibility was absolutely nonexistent. While all my classmates were jamming out to George Strait and Flo Rida, I discovered my obsession: Empire of The Sun. Their breakthrough album “Walking on a Dream” was the iconic album of my seventh grade year, and my eighth grade year, and my ninth grade year…and every year since. This is Australian psychedelic pop at its finest. The band is fronted by the dynamic duo of Nick Littlemore and Luke Steele, who has since made other appearances including Jay Z’s “The Blueprint 3” and Steve Aoki’s “Neon Future”. Their debut is at times almost unbearably slick, recalling MGMT in its creamy falsettos, global consciousness, and ludicrous performing style. Highlights include Standing on the Shore, which is stripped down and purposeful next to the languid synths and can easily transpose any listener to a far-out beach on Australia’s southern coast. My personal favorite, We Are the People contains phenomenal acoustic flourishes, the greater length of this track allows the superb falsetto chorus payoff to be held back on for additional effect which is simply fantastic. The sunshiny chorus of the album’s namesake track, Walking on a Dream will hook into your perineum and drag you upwards with Empire of the Sun’s mantra of “We are always running for the thrill of it, thrill of it”. If you liked MGMT’s singles, you should also like all of these.
So why bring up an album which is nearly eight years old? Enter a Honda Civic commercial which premiered during the super bowl playoff games. Honda had included the single Walking on a Dream as the song to be played while footage of its vehicles were shown driving out of the factory and into a green countryside. That commercial propelled the otherwise obscure and forgotten album all the way back to the number 40 spot on iTunes most purchased slot. Several weeks later, and the single is still in the top 50. Empire of the Sun had also scored the soundtrack to the 2013 Dumb and Dumber sequel, “Dumb and Dumber too”.
With the revitalized success of Empire of the Sun, the group has officially announced they will release a new album later this year. For longtime fans, this news comes as long overdue. For those who are discovering the group for the first time, this provides the opportunity to keep an otherwise brief interest alive. I am beyond thrilled to see what the duo has in store for 2016, as I’m sure the new album will be both a hybrid and an evolution of “Walking on a Dream” and their 2013 album, “Ice on the Dune”. However, whenever I listen to the group or rave about them to my peers, “Walking on a Dream” will always be what’s on the brain.