Thursday, 20 May 2010

Are You Gonna Leave Me Now? Can't You Be Believing Now?

A long time ago (2006), in a galaxy far, far away (to pinpoint it, look toward the cities of Perth and Sydney, Australia), two musical spaceships collided and combined their genre-stretching powers for a brief and magical moment - creating a veritable powerhouse of psychedelic awesomeness.

Luke Steele from Perth, West Australia-based The Sleepy Jackson and Nick Littlemore of PNAU from across the continent in Sydney, New South Wales had been introduced to each other by mutual A&R peeps in a Sydney bar in 2000. After having exchanged ideas back and forth for a while, they decided to join forces and create something that was larger (in this writer's humble opinion) than themselves.

Thus, Empire of the Sun. (Though it was generally assumed that they named themselves after the novel by the one and only JG Ballard, Mr Littlemore explained to RTE (out of Ireland) that the name comes from "... all the empires of the civilisation where the sun has been a theme of worship.")

Empire of the Sun. In late 2008, they released their debut (and, to date, only) album, Walking On A Dream, and I gotta tell you - it's a corker! It's safe to say that as far as debuts go, this has just about everything one could require in a must-listen experience: Adventure, romance, loss, science fiction, tigers, swordfish, lush electronica, fascinating beats, emotive lyrics, and "Emperor" Steele's dulcet voice, which frankly must be heard to be believed. (Littlemore, who is unfortunately not with the band anymore after heading back to his PNAU camp, was referred to as "Lord" Littlemore.)

It's no secret that "We Are The People" stands as not only my favorite song on the album, but pretty much my favorite song, period. Full stop. Not only does this track exhibit an unrelenting freshness and beauty that fully engages and immerses the listener in its myriad charms, but the video filmed for it relays those attributes and creates what is, for me, a genuine multi-media piece of fine art.

Directed by Josh Logue, who has worked with Empire of the Sun on their other singles "Walking On A Dream," "Standing On The Shore," and "Without You," "We Are The People" takes the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as its inspiration. Filmed entirely in Mexico (locations include Monterrey, García, and the incredibly lush and surreal Sir Edward James Gardens in Las Pazas), the video follows our heroes as they search for ... well, God, it seems. "Es este el camino a la diosa?" they ask a fellow on a bicycle in the desert toward the beginning of the film. Then they come across a man digging a hole. "Es para usted," he says to them. "It's to stop you." Enough of the transcribing! Here's the video for your own viewing pleasure. Enjoy! It really is a fresh and exciting work. And, I have to say, I'm a huge fan of Luke Steele's fashion sense. The headdress itself is just plain awesome.

And, as a bonus, I thought I'd throw this number at you. On the 22nd of July, 2009, the world experienced the longest total eclipse of the sun (six minutes and thirty-nine seconds to be exact). Empire of the Sun decided to do a broadcast that lasted as long as the eclipse did, and I gotta say, it's pretty bonkers (in a good way). Featuring characters from the "Standing on the Shore" video (Swordfish Girls! Black and Shiny Box Men!) and mixing together re-worked bits of the rest of Walking on A Dream, it really is a sight to behold. Once again, enjoy!

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