Soft Universe

Soft Universe, the new album by the Australian duo PNAU, is the finest example yet of their epic electro pop. The faster, more up-tempo tracks - using their best-known songs to date, ‘Embrace’ and ‘With You Forever’ as the template – are their most accessible and uplifting ventures yet into the territory of supercharged anthemica.

But it is far from an album of club bangers: Soft Universe is a pop record in the traditional sense, one that sees PNAU’s Peter Mayes and Nick Littlemore branching out into classic song craft, including subtly orchestrated ballads. It bears the influence not just of Empire Of The Sun, Nick’s award-winning, commercially successful project with Luke Steele, but of Bowie and Bono and Burt Bacharach as well as PNAU’s new mentor, Elton John. It feels big, ambitious, expansive – like a musical composed by U2, arranged by Prince and Giorgio Moroder, and based on the songs of Taupin and John.

Nick, who admits to being a self-taught musician lacking in virtuoso prowess, and Peter, who has been playing instruments since childhood, are the perfect team. Peter realises Nick’s lyrical vision; Nick puts flesh and blood on Peter’s musical bones. Together, they have produced an album that everyone can enjoy.