Ice on the Dune - Empire of the Sun

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Jul 25, 2013
    Disjointed ending or not, Empire of the Sun has delivered a well-blended mix of disco, electropop and just plain fun that evokes the greats without copying them outright.
  2. Jul 8, 2013
    It’s like the best bits of MGMT, The Scissor Sisters and The Sleepy Jackson rolled into one.
  3. Jun 24, 2013
    Alive and Concert Pitch are deliriously upbeat confections, but a whole album in that vein could be capable of inducing dental caries at 50 paces. Thankfully, the second half finds them in more restrained--but no less winning--mood.
  4. Jun 17, 2013
    [The title track] like the rest of this exceptional LP, works fine as one chapter in an elaborate concept opus, but is just as satisfying for those with both feet in reality. [Jul 2013, p.98]
  5. Ice on the Dune is a seamless suite of elegiac synthpop, with fairydust-flecked melodies, a perpetually peaking bass end, chord changes that reach into your heart, and fantasising falsetto vocals.
  6. Jun 17, 2013
    The guys in Empire of the Sun manage to not only catch the lightning again, but their skill at crafting perfect pop, the depth in their songs, and the emotion their voices transmit make this record better than one might have ever expected. Modern pop doesn't get any better than this.
  7. Jun 13, 2013
    In essence, Ice On The Dune is pure pop with a twist--like a modern day 10cc, or ELO using synths instead of strings. [Jul 2013, p.75]
  8. Jun 13, 2013
    Harnessing a number of pop hit-making producers and mixers guarantees Ice On The Dune the requisite polish and shininess necessary for everyman's ear. On their own, however, the songs still have the relentless hooks, the danceable rhythms, the chiseled melodies, plus the mysterious lyricism that production alone cannot create. [Jun-Jul 2013, p.86]
  9. Jun 14, 2013
    Like all good records, it has its magpie moments too - the Justice / Daft Punk tinged one-two of ‘Celebrate’ and ‘Surround Sound’ especially effective in the current climate--but fundamentally Ice On The Dune is the definitive Empire Of The Sun album.
  10. 70
    The album is full of high-energy, highly-infectious dance numbers--in a way that demands frequently radio play, big-budget festival spots, distasteful Kesha collaborations, and another five year break between this and album #3.
  11. Jun 20, 2013
    Ice on the Dune is a pretty impressive pop album. But it's hard not to wonder what might have been had just a bit of the fanciful imagination that goes into the visual side of Empire of the Sun been allowed to seep in.
  12. 60
    It’s neither better nor worse than Dream, but for all that talk of “pushing through four dimensions” (“Surround Sound”), the album remains planted in its comfort zone.
  13. Jun 19, 2013
    The songs and melodies may be brighter, but there is a nagging sense throughout that something special has been lost somewhere in the process.
  14. Jun 17, 2013
    While it's debatable whether Empire Of The Sun deliver on a stated aim to make music that's "transcendental," you'll have a lot of fun hearing them try. [Jul 2013, p.85]
  15. 60
    On track after track, the falsetto vocals and surging electropop pulses ultimately congeal into too saccharine a sonic experience, an artificially sweetened aural marshmallow.
  16. Jun 13, 2013
    Perhaps with a little more nuance they can exploit the potential of their partnership to be one of the most intriguing electro-pop duos around--but on Ice on the Dune that potential remains unrealised.
  17. Jun 13, 2013
    Ice On The Dune is patchy, and shows little progression from 2008 debut, ‘Walking On A Dream’.
  18. Jun 21, 2013
    Their stuff floats off, and the synths carry the whiff not of a beach breeze but of a department-store escalator.
  19. Jul 2, 2013
    The vintage-Daft Punk cheese platter "Celebrate" and album-ending­ Bowie joke "Keep a Watch" are foamy fun, but too often Ice on the Dune just feels like a lobotomy on the dance floor.
  20. 40
    The problem is, when you project a futuristic, magical and otherworldly image, you’d better have the sounds to match. And unfortunately, Ice On The Dune is a four-to-the-floor electro-pop album that has literally nothing to do with the cheesy fable invented to go with it.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Nov 15, 2013
    Although the album may appear flat upon a first listen, there are songs that overall redeem it. Songs such as DNA, Alive, Awakening, I'll Be Around and Celebrate will always have a special place in my heart. I must admit though, upon my first listen, I got bored and fed up fast. When I took a second listen 2 months later, I couldn't stop listening to this album. A very good follow-up to Walking on a Dream. Full Review »
  2. Jul 8, 2013
    I remember hearing walking on a dream for the first time and being absolutely blown away. After buying the album I was slightly underwhelmed but still really enjoyed a lot of the tracks. This time my expectations were slightly lower but were definitely surpassed. Though there's nothing on here to quite match walking on a dream pretty much every other track is superior to their previous album. Stand out tracks for me are DNA, I'll Be Around and Old Flavours. Overall Brilliant album! Full Review »
  3. Jul 5, 2013
    A solid sophomore effort but far from the sheer brilliance of 'Walking On A Dream'. Although 'Ice On The Dune' presents a more cohesive set of songs than its predecessor, the tracks on here sound a bit too samey overall, with only a few standout moments. 'Alive', 'Awakening', 'I'll Be Around' and 'Surround Sound' are recommended. Full Review »