Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 22, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 22, 2013 


Book Reviews by Jasmine Kelsey Williams 



After a five-year gap, electronic pop aficionados Empire of the Sun are back 
with a more polished sound than ever. Their new record, “Ice on the Dune” 
is a luminous, often beautifully crafted pop effort. Duo Luke Steele and Nick 
Littlemore bring everything to the table with a richly layered, elegiac pop 
sound. The songs here have quite a bit of depth and Steele’s vocals have the 
ability of hitting you straight in the heart. “Ice on the Dune” specializes in dance beats, falsetto vocals, 
and razor sharp choruses. The first of the half of the record really shines with “DNA” and “Alive” both 
providing sugary sweet synths and summery pop energy. However, toward the later half of the album, 
the glow fades a bit. The second half is still somewhat enjoyable, especially with standout track, “I’ll 
Be Around” but this portion of the record is not nearly as stimulating as the first half. 

Since the time between the debut, “Walking On A 
Dream” and “Ice on The Dune” was so long, this 
endeavor was surely a laborious one. The record 
starts off with “Lux,” which displays an epic, grandeur 
movie soundtrack entrance. It’s a sign that Empire 
of the Sun is back and to listen up. This is after all 
a music act that’s sports an outlandishly empyrean 
outfit on stage. So they definitely have the capability 
of being overblown. All distractions aside, the duo 
knows how to elevate the energy to a maximum level. 
“Alive” is clearly the song of summer. With incredible beats, intoxicating choruses that you’ll find 
impossible not to sing along to, and an overall warm feel to compliment the time of the year, “Alive” 
is one of the band’s strongest and most significant tracks. “Concert Pitch” keeps the high tempo alive 
as being another infectious pop tune that’s meant to be played while driving with the windows down. 
Title track “Ice on The Dune” continues this trend of super catchy songs that incorporate a deeper 
resonance than other bands driven by this similar snyth-pop style. Empire of the Sun make it possible 
for dance music to mean something more than just having quick beats, but also including a heartbeat 
to go along with it. 

If the other tracks on “Ice on the Dune” are influenced by the 80s, then “I’ll Be Around” leans more 
toward 70s soft rock. In vein of Fleetwood Mac, the song has a certain mystic glow to it as it gently sails 
from start to finish. There’s something indelible about the arrangements as “I’ll Be Around” clearly is 
the bands most sensitive and personal track on the record. As some of the later tracks blend together 
with similar sounds, I feel the listening experience may benefit more from breaks between hearing 
a few songs and going onto the next couple. I say this because toward the end, the magic, while still 
apparent, doesn’t offer to many new tricks. It’s fine since the opening act was quite magnificent. Sadly, 
the closing ceremony finds a bit of rehashing or the same tricks packaged differently. Overall, “Ice 
of the Dune” is a completely welcoming album from a band, which I thought threw in the towel. 
However, they clearly were working on something much more ambitious than I could have ever 
imagined. While not everything here is faultless or memorable, there are enough spectacular songs 
here that can make you forgive Empire of the Sun for those tracks that clearly don’t live up to the rest. 

Grade: 7.8 out of 10

Key Tracks: “DNA”, “Alive”, “Ice on The Dune”, “I’ll Be Around” 

Maya’s Notebook: A Novel

By Isabel Allende

 Our next choice for the summer was one that 
was provided as a recommendation to me, and it is 
worth the read as it is a wonderful choice for any 
summer reading list. “Maya’s Notebook” by Isabel 
Allende appears to be a passionate but raw and 
straightforward tale of our protagonist 19-year-old 
Maya Nidal and her journey to understand herself, 
her family, and her future. Even as early as the first 
few chapters, readers will be able to pick up a strong, 
yet reserved tone from Maya and how she recounts 
to her tale of how she has ended up in her current 
predicament. The story and plot focus on how 
Maya starts her life with her grandparents, but then 
derails and she loses her way after her grandfather 
dies. After this occurs, Maya turns to drugs, alcohol, 
petty crime, and turns instead to an unusual gang of 
so-called friends dubbed “The Vampires” which all 
slowly drags her into a downward spiral that slowly 
ends out in Las Vegas. As it becomes more difficult 
for Maya to find her path again, she becomes even 
more ensnared with a dangerous underworld of 
warring forces that all pursue her. 

 Becoming desperate, Maya turns to her grandmother Nini, who aids Maya escaping to the 
coast of Chile, where Maya slowly starts to make sense of her past, her future, and gradually 
discovering the truths and secrets of her family. Allende’s words work their magic in their 
own unique way, giving readers a first person perspective on Maya’s trials and tribulations, 
giving a rather turbulent account of a personal history a strong and somewhat adventurous 

 Readers in their teenage to early adulthood years may be able to connect with Maya by 
relating her accounts to personal experiences as well. Copyrighted in 2013 and receiving 
praise from Entertainment Weekly, People, and Boston Globe, “Maya’s Notebook” is an 
excellent choice for those who seek adventure, discovery, and even enlightenment.
Artist: Empire of the Sun

Album: Ice of the Dune 

Label: Astralwerks

Release Date: June 18th, 2013



Another Trip in Baseball’s Time Machine: 
Photography at the Field of Dreams 
July 1 ~ August 31, 2013 
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut Street 
Pasadena, California 
Left: Willie Mays (“The Catch”), 1954 World Series, New York / Photograph by Frank Hurley, New York Daily News 
Right: 1960 World Series, Forbes Field, Pittsburgh / Photograph by George Silk, Life Magazine An exhibition highlighting the dynamic relationship between photography and baseball from the game’s formative years to the modern era Featuring “Baseball’s Best in Black & White: A Portfolio of Favorite Historical Baseball Photographs from The Rucker Archive” Also including contributions from: Frank Ceresi/The National Pastime Museum, Howard Cole, David Davis, Paul Dickson, Raymond Doswell/Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Morris Eckhouse, Chris Epting, Steve Fjeldsted, Bill Hickman, Greg Jezewski, Charles Kapner, Albert Kilchesty, Bruce Markusen, Dan McLaughlin/Pasadena Public Library, Mark Ocegueda, Joe Price, Andy Strasberg, Nick Smith, Kevin Varrone, and Pamela Wilson Exhibition is in the Business Wing, Humanities Wing, and Centennial Room Library hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. “Another Trip in Baseball’s Time Machine: Photography at the Field of Dreams” is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission