Today — Friday, November 28, 2016 — started rather shitty for me. First, I overslept because I forgot to set an alarm when I went to bed last night. I woke up in a panic because I knew immediately that I’d slept way too much — I felt way too damn refreshed and there was more sun pouring in through my bedroom window than there usually is when I wake up. I asked Alexa what time it was and she said 7:45, which confirmed my fears; I’d overslept by an hour and 15 minutes.
So I scrambled and with eyes still barely open I reached for my computer to log on to work for the day and start to play catch up. It was then that I discovered that my internet was out. Thinking in that moment about the emails and Slack messages surely piling up for me sent me into a mild panic. I took a deep breath and got up to brush my teeth and take a quick shower. When I got up out of bed I noticed that my right knee was all ganked up, sore and swollen, for no apparent reason that I could think of. This is what happens when you start to get old; parts of your body start to fail you and you have no idea why.
After brushing my teeth, I grabbed my dog and walked down to my neighborhood coffee shop. On the way back I spilled coffee all the new t-shirt I had put on just a few minutes prior. F*ck me. I was barely a few minutes into my day and it could hardly be going worse.
But then I returned home and discovered that my internet had come back on while I was out and the brand new Empire of the Sun album, Two Vines, had auto-downloaded onto my various Apple devices due to my preordering the album months ago. Suddenly, everything changed.
I went out and sat in my back yard and gave the full album a first listen via my favorite Skullcandy headphones. The band had pre-released a few tracks in the weeks leading up to the full release, but there’s still something so special about sitting down to listen to a full album by a musical act you love for the first time, and Two Vines did not disappoint. Featuring contributions from Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac along with Wendy Melvoin (from Prince’s band, The Revolution) and Henry Hey and Tim Lefebvre (members of David Bowie’s Blackstar band) Two Vines is light and fun and celebratory, music that makes one feel joyous and happy to be alive and healthy (ganky knees aside), music that conjures up thoughts of long drives down coastal highways, the sun and cool breeze kissing your face.
It’s probably no coincidence that the record was conceived in Hawaii. As Luke Steele, one half of the Australian duo (the other being Nick Littlemore) notes in the album’s press release, “I’d spend the morning surfing, then roll in and make music into the night.”