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Apr 23, 2018







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Empire of the Sun, On Our Way Home (Astralwerks Records)




 Neil Young & Promise of the Real, The Visitor (Warner Bros Records)

No doubt about it, this 72-year-old is still a punk, which, of course, I mean in a good way. I’ve personally never been crazy about the guy — OK, maybe when “Southern Man” seemed like the most rebellious song on earth — but he does still seem to believe that rock ’n’ roll can help to foment social change. Lyrically this is all about the marshmallow-soft political target who’s on every hack comedian’s lips — no surprise at all there, given Young’s stubborn refusal to sell out, and I mean ever. Musically, well, after the broke-down mud-blues of (ultimately snide) opener “Already Great,” I looked to see if T Bone Burnett was involved (not that that automatically spells genius anyway), but no, it’s just Young and this new set of peeps. The sound is so beautifully ruined, it’s like a last NASA Voyager message to whatever species lands here after the hypothetical final world war; all that’s missing is the bacon-and-eggs scratched-record noise. I don’t like the refrain to this one, but again, that’s just my allergy to Young, and regardless, the drum sound to “Fly by Night Deal” is that slo-mo trampoline bounce that’s native to early White Stripes. It’s a hot mess, this record, in that vein more theatrical than maybe anything he’s done previously. Nothing much wrong here at all, depending on your tolerance for Young in general of course. A — Eric W. Saeger




Empire of the Sun, On Our Way Home (Astralwerks Records)
CD Reviews: December 7, 2017

12/07/17
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 Empire of the Sun, On Our Way Home (Astralwerks Records)

You had to know this Australian duo (Luke Steele of alternative rock act The Sleepy Jackson, and Nick Littlemore of electronic dance outfit Pnau) had some great chill-techno to offer the planet when their single’s “Walking on a Dream” backgrounding of the Honda Civic commercial was more cool and warming than half the stuff you could get on Music On Demand. I’m not sure what these three songs are supposed to foretell, but with any luck it’s an LP with similar vibes. The understated, instantly accessible title track is like top-shelf Goldfrapp but jet-powered with a Fleetwood Mac hook. Same with the three different mixes of “Way to Go” (Cornelius and Gomez & Trutter futz with the main mix separately), but it’s even more of a ’70s/’80s-tinged AOR/bubble-pop crossover dream. “Two Leaves” flirts with Grizzly Bear, and I mean that in the best way possible. What a no-brainer, this one. A+ — Eric W. Saeger
 





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