Sydneysiders Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore are two mainstays of Australian music, through Steel’s work in alternative rock band The Sleepy Jackson and Littlemore’s contribution to EDM group Pnau. As Empire of the Sun, however, together they have gone down as one of the city’s most successful electronic duos. In celebration of 10 years since their debut album Walking on a Dream reshaped the Australian music scene, they have released ‘Chrysalis’.
‘Chrysalis’ is everything fans love about the iconic 80s-inspired, synth produced sound of Empire of the Sun, modernised with a heavier beat and busier instrumental work. From the moment the opening synth chord booms out into the wide soundscape, the steady beat and playful guitar melody create a light and dreamy pop tone. As these layers of bright sounds overlap with one another, it builds a solid and firm foundation to dance and groove away too. This remains largely the same throughout the song, with breaks in the beat and louder dynamics from the ethereal synths being used to signal the start of the chorus.
While the calm musical undertone provides an infectious energy, Empire of the Sun’s iconic vocals carry the emotion and narrative of the track. The lyrics evoke epic imagery of thunderous lands, rebirth and heaven, increasing the song’s sense of scale. The chorus and its message of rising from slumberous shadows through harmony and sticking together is so positive that it’s hard to not let that positivity sweep over you. This is firmly established through Empire of the Sun’s brilliant vocal harmonies, which just sound soft and nice on the listener’s ears. The track is Empire of the Sun at their best. While easy to enjoy, the firm beat calls the listener to dance through sweet music and positive vibes.
‘Chrysalis’ can be heard on all online streaming platforms as well as on a special-edition vinyl reissue of the debut album, Walking on a Dream.