Source Material: Empire of the Sun

According to the duo's founding myth, Empire of the Sun's Emperor Steele (The Sleepy Jackson) and Lord Littlemore (Pnau) claim to hail from 1,000 years in the future, where they fight to bring peace to the world. But instead of plasma rays or hover cars, their primary tools would seem to be the pop music from roughly 1,000-and-change years in their own past. Their second album, Ice on the Dune, draws from a specific strain of grandiose, emotive pop -- think E.L.O.'s symphonic prog, Fleetwood Mac's gold-dusted sheen, The Cars' synth-soaked New Wave, and the retro-laced sugar rush of more recent bands like The Avalanches, M83 and MGMT -- and focuses its most spine-tingling elements into a laser-like beam.

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