Ice on the Dune - Empire of the Sun
Ice on the Dune Image
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second full-length release for the Australian electro-pop duo continues the post-apocalyptic saga begun in 2008's Walking On A Dream.
  • Record Label: Astralwerks
  • Genre(s): Pop, Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Jul 25, 2013
    80
    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. 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.
  3. Jun 24, 2013
    80
    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. 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.
  5. Jun 20, 2013
    60
    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.
  6. Jun 19, 2013
    60
    The songs and melodies may be brighter, but there is a nagging sense throughout that something special has been lost somewhere in the process.
  7. 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.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jun 18, 2013
    10
    Empire's second album is everything Walking on a Dream was and more. When Empire of the Sun embarked on the journey of creating Walking on a Dream they wanted to make a sound that had never been done before- and they did. Awaiting the second album from the first album's phenom, fans wanted Walking on a Dream 2.0. Luke Steele explains in interviews he was aware of this ideal that fans wanted but elaborates that progressing as artists, they cannot make the first album twice. They made Ice on the Dune evolving their unique music style which is unlike any other. This album gets a 10 because it executes a concept that cleverly conveys a tone of upbeat mystery. Each instrument and synth has been carefully selected and layered into a blissful wall of sound. The album progresses naturally in a cohesive manner. You will be pleasantly surprised as this album transports you to another world. Expand
  2. Jun 18, 2013
    9
    I think this album is almost as good as their first album. I love all the catchy choruses and tracks, probably 10 of the 12 songs are truly great tracks to listen to. Definitely reccommend it to anyone who liked their first album especially, but anyone who likes dance/pop/disco. Luke Steele's vocals truly make the album that much better than if anyone else was singing, though. Expand
  3. Jun 20, 2013
    9
    This album definitely tops the first. Yes, they tried to appeal to the club scene, but, if you're like me and loved the more imaginative songs like "Half Mast", "Without You", and "Tiger by my Side", then I Guarantee you'll love "Surround Sound", "Ill Be Around", and "Keep a Watch". This is an excellent album that you'll never get tired of listening to it. Expand
  4. Jul 8, 2013
    9
    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! Collapse
  5. Nov 15, 2013
    9
    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. Expand
  6. Jun 18, 2013
    8
    With ‘Walking on a Dream’ in my opinion being a great album, I highly anticipated the release of ‘Ice on the Dune’. Surely Empire of the Sun would deliver on creating an album with even more epic, euphoric feel-good songs that are to be even more memorable and magical than hits like ‘Walking on a Dream’ and ‘Half Mast’. I was already imagining myself lying in the sun in my lazy chair getting a high purely on their fantastic new songs, much like I would experience with ‘Country’. Having now listened to their new album, I was somewhat disappointed at first but I am already starting to turn around. Let me tell you why.

    The album in my experience starts out solidly. ‘Lux’ creates a setup for what should be the album I have so highly anticipated, then ‘DNA’ kicks in which somewhat reminds me of their previous album, followed by ‘Alive’ which was probably also one of the reasons I expected so much from this album. A little later I find myself snapping my fingers to the beat of ‘Concert Pitch’, so far so good… I find myself enjoying the songs I’ve just heard for the first time, just until ‘Awakening’ starts off. This is clearly a very experimental track which makes me skeptical about what is to follow. Luckily ‘I’ll be around’ makes up for this with it’s very catchy tunes and has already become one of my personal favorites. This tune is followed by ‘Old flavours’ which we could already have heard in their ‘Discovery’ trailer, which I also think is a pretty decent track but in my humble opinion was better in the live version at the Sydney Opera House because of the way the electric guitar was tuned. The next few songs that follow quite frankly weren’t that good at all. At the end I found myself almost wanting to skip to the end just to get them over with. Now don’t get me wrong, they are not all that horrible but they just don’t have the feel about them as the songs I described earlier. The album finishes with ‘Keep a watch’, which isn’t that bad at all but also does not deliver the on the level of feel-good which I am looking for in every Empire of the Sun tune.

    So after listening for the first time I find myself in a mixed state. Quite a few songs sounded good to me but still I was a bit disappointed the album was not the perfect 10 I had already made it to be in my mind, even before it had been released. After listening a couple of times more I was starting to wonder how it would match up against the previous album so I started to listen to it again. This put things in perspective and made me realize I liked a lot more of this album than I did with the previous one. The magical journey this album should have been has in a way been delivered, especially with the first few songs. So keep in mind, if you’re expecting it to be that much more than the ‘Walking on a dream’ album and even grander than ‘Alive’, you might want to adjust your expectations. Allover I think the album is solid and that there should be enough on it for people to enjoy their lazy Sunday afternoons lying in the (empire of the) sun and enjoying the good life.

    Must hear: ‘DNA’, ‘Alive’, ‘I’ll be around’, ‘Old flavours’
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  7. Jul 5, 2013
    7
    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. Expand