Admit it: you’re glad they’re back. Returning with the same ‘Walking…’ production team of Peter Mayes and Donnie Sloan, Luke and Nick have sensibly set the electronic pop laser to stun. The opening triple salvo certainly sets things up nicely: twinkling opener ‘Lux’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Tim Burton soundtrack, while the second track, ‘DNA’, sounds like the band at their best. Over an acoustic guitar, “back in 79, there were no rules to feel sublime,” trills Luke. “Be my, be my DNA, don’t want to fade away!”
It’s like the best bits of MGMT, The Scissor Sisters and The Sleepy Jackson rolled into one. Track three, the jubilant single ‘Alive’, you’ll have heard already.
Then we’re onto ‘Concert Pitch’, which channels ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ for the Millennial generation. As is often the way with these things, there are a couple of tracks in the middle that are just... OK. ‘Celebrate’ is aimed at the dancefloor but doesn’t quite connect, and ‘Surround Sound’ is too darn schmaltzy for its own good, a nice groove in search of a song.
But then we’re back on firm ground with ‘Disarm’ and ‘Keep A Watch’, the former (“take a chance, my love!”) already sounding like the best 80s stadium jam you (n)ever heard, and latter closing the album like Elton John in his Bennie And The Jets 1970s pomp. Overblown, ridiculous lovers of pop life: is it any wonder Uncle Elton admires this Empire so much?
File under Superior second album syndrome
Download ‘Alive’, ‘Keep A Watch’, ‘DNA’
Like this? Try MGMT ‘Oracular Spectacular’ (Columbia)