Maybe you remember a couple of years ago when Foster The People had a monster of a summer hit with Pumped Up Kicks, a naggingly catchy pop breeze that took over the airwaves from LA to London and round the world again. (I remember a particularly hot summer night dancing around to it on repeat, and yes, there may have been some vino involved.) Well, I have just found this year’s Pumped Up Kicks and it comes courtesy of the Australian space cadets Empire of the Sun. Such is the greatness of their feel good electro tunes, that I don’t even care they’ve come up with some Captain Fantastic type names and pretend to be from some planet where they seem to spend most of their time hammering out swanky head-gear and fighting off an evil King of Shadows to save the world. (The new album has some cockamamie premise of lost jewels and animal spirit priests, or some such nonsense. Concept albums and theatrics make me yawn whilst simultaneously rolling my eyes.) However, the lead single “Alive” makes me want to live on that planet where I can shout into the light blue electric “Love you every minute cause you make me feel so alive…alive!” whilst dodging sun rays reflecting off Luke Steel’s impressive steel crown. Oh, it’s beautiful there. The horizon is as wide and blue as the sea. There’s a whole album of this happiness, of these euphoric and glitzy electro floor fillers. “I don’t wanna be so complicated” Luke Steel sings on “Concert Pitch” and I think that pretty much sums it up. “Ice On The Dune” album is full of happy pop, made for long summer nights and even longer summer holidays. Someone called this a Bacardi Breezer of an album. A perfect analogy.
Summer usually hits the city like a sodden hot rag across the face; suddenly, always unexpectedly and leaving a damp streak in its wake. Thats when the rich start boarding their planes to the French Riviera, the middle-classes steer their kids and their VW Polos to the shore, and finally the city belongs to us; the workers, the vagabonds and the lonely hearts rattling around the empty streets like spare change in a tin can. There is something captivating about a thinned-out city, it’s quiet mornings, its gentler pace, and the feeling these streets belong to you alone. So if you are one of these lucky summer castaways, I have the perfect soundtrack to your balmy rooftop evenings, when the bbq smoke mixes with the thick traffic fumes, the red lanterns softly sway in the evening breeze and the mojito you are holding airbrushes the cityscape to a postcard of wish you were here. Emeli Sandé , a former medical student from Glasgow has released a luscious and jazzy soul groove of a debut. “Heaven” re-assuringly lends from the early-90s vibe, and that incredible voice is clearly heading where its meant to be- to the toppermost of the poppermost.