Empire of the Sun just released their latest album Two Vines on Friday. This is Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore’s third record, and it features 14 tracks on the deluxe version. The indie pop band’s style is rather unique, and you should decide for yourself if you enjoy Empire of the Sun’s music. With that said, however, it is not my cup of tea.
For starters, the vocals are nasally and unpleasant. Every now and then there is a moment where they get decent, but when that happens, the singing turns into a whisper. On top of this, Steele doesn’t enunciate well, making him incomprehensible at times.
The group doesn’t show much vocal range either, as most of their tracks are sung in either a monotone or a few droning pitches. On the brighter side, Empire of the Sun overlaps some of their vocals, which adds depth to what could otherwise be described as flat. In one of the songs on the album, there is the sound of a choir, which made that particular song slightly more interesting.
The beat and instrumental parts of this album sound too similar from track to track. Almost every song has the constant thump of a bass drum — that leaves only the melody to change between songs. To their credit, each song has a different melody, but the electro and synthesizer music also end up sounding far too repetitive and similar to one another. The combination of the never-ending bass kick beat and the synthesized melodies blends the songs into what seems like a 30-minute track from the `80s put on repeat. Mumbled vocals by the singer don’t help set each track apart either. Even within individual songs, the rhythm and music are the same throughout the whole thing, not changing to differentiate between a chorus or a bridge. It’s boring.
There is a strange mix of interesting, basic, obscure and straightforward lyrics throughout this album. Rhyme is infrequent, which isn’t essential for a song but helps its structure and musicality. Furthermore, as Steele sings, he pauses where there shouldn’t be pauses. There are also lines which he speaks in a way to make them sound awkward.
To me, this soundtrack is something out of the `80s, and not in a good way. The dull drone of the vocals fails to deliver any sense of enjoyment, while making the lyrics difficult to understand. Music should enhance and stimulate, but the melodies and rhythms on this album are repetitive and stale. All these reasons are why Two Vines scores a four out of 10. Give it a listen and form your own opinion, but please, for the love of God, don’t make me listen to it again.
Contact CU Independent Arts Staff Writer Benjamin Vernon at Benjamin.Vernon@colorado.edu.