Arts & Culture

Ethereal pop duo explores relationships in new LP

Aussie band Empire of the Sun sings of summer heartbreak, natural world in ‘Two Vines’

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Australian electronic-pop band Empire of the Sun released its newest LP, which explores the evolution of relationships and the natural world.

Finding beauty in nature and interpersonal relationships, dreamy electrotronic group Empire of the Sun evokes sentimental recollections of fleeting summer love and an appreciation for the natural world in “Two Vines,” released Oct. 28.

Luke Steele of “The Sleepy Jackson” and Nick Littlemore of “Pnau” comprise this Sydney-born duo. “Two Vines” is the band’s newest album and third formal LP, though the duo has also released many series and compilations of remixes since its formation in 2008.

True to the group’s dreamy aesthetic, the album blurs soft voices into electronic melodies using pulsing baselines and breathy lyrics, creating  an ethereal listening experience.

Each of the 11 tracks on “Two Vines” explores the multifaceted development of interpersonal relationships and the pain one experiences in occupying the space between “just friends” and “significant others.”

“Friends,” the fourth track on the LP, explores this relationship evolution. The chorus, “No one ever said you’d be right here / Now I gotta be scared of my friends,” reveals the singer’s newfound, intense feelings for someone and the fear of losing the comfort of his friend group in the process of expressing his true emotions.

In “First Crush,” Empire of the Sun explores similar feelings with a moving hook: “She said, you’re more than a friend that took me on / … first crush, too much at once, the special one.” “First Crush” also incorporates lines of whispered lyrics in Japanese that add a multicultural component.

“Way to Go,” a bittersweet track, confronts the inevitability of heartbreak but sanguinely views the future as a romantic cure-all. Steele sings: “Because heartbreak’s coming to bend us the wrong way / Plays us, memory will change it into old things,” discussing the possibility of starting over and finding love again after a painful heartbreak. In the end, the pain will become only a memory.

Themes of nature are woven throughout the album’s lyrics, as the duo references the elements in an attempt to incite listeners’ senses. Water is referenced as a cleansing force, a source of destruction and a memory stimulant as it appears throughout the lyrics. The contrast of light and darkness in the lyrics also plays a key role in revealing the sentiments and musical intentions of the Steele and Littlemore.

After appearing in Broomfield, CT Dec. 2, Empire of the Sun will tour Salt Lake City, Utah, Seattle, Washington and Oakland, California before appearing at the FOMO Festival in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia.