Album Review: Owl City

Following on from last years surprise hit record Ocean Eyes, Owl City (aka Adam Young) this week released All Things Bright And Beautiful. Still only 25 years old, Young already boasts two independently created and distributed albums on the back of a viral MySpace promotion before signing to Universal Records in time for the release of Ocean Eyes.

Being a big fan of Owl City, news of this new release genuinely excited me, so I had no hesitation in handing over my hard earned cash in exchange for a generous 15 tracks.

Let me begin by saying that I wondered whether I had purchased the previous album again – I had to double check that I had the right one playing. From the very beginning of the first track The Real World, the listener is exposed to that all too familiar whining soft synth that was so influential in the success of previous hit Fireflies. From the percussion elements, and string stabs through to the vocal delivery everything sounds all too familiar.

Having said that, I absolutely loved the previous album which meant that I enjoyed this one equally - and judging by the success of last years Ocean Eyes, then why change a successful recipe?

The album kicks off with The Real World, a chilled out synth number which builds pleasantly, followed by Deer In The Headlights, a much more upbeat happy-feel good pop tune. Both tracks offer everything that I would have asked for from my new Owl City album, so I’m immediately satisfied - dynamic percussion elements, pleasing harmonies and catchy synth lines are plentiful.

Angels, an overly produced gentle ballad with a screaming chorus is the first offering of diversity within the album. Dreams Don’t Turn To Dust is as forgettable as its title, whilst Honey and The Bee, although lyrically very soppy, is a pleasant break from electronica and instead features a chirpy acoustic guitar.

January 28, 1986, featuring an excerpt from Ronald Reagan’s speech commemorating the lives lost in the Challenger space shuttle disaster is another pretty synth pop tune with lots of vocal “da-da’s”. Maybe Young ran out of inspiration after spending all his lyrical ability on the line “I swear, there are lots of vegetable out there”. Pure genius, no?

After a bit more da-da-ing on Hospital Flowers, we finally reach the albums lead single Alligator Sky, which is to be honest, a fantastic song. It features rapper Shawn Chrystopher who brings a futuristic, dream-embellished tune firmly back down to earth. Too often, we hear artists employing the services of a rapper to appear “cool”, but Alligator Sky just works.

The same formulae is repeated too often throughout the album, and tracks like Angels, which offer something a bit different are few and far between. Listening to the album after enjoying the previous one is essentially like driving a Vauxhall Corsa, getting bored of it and going out and buying a new Vauxhall Corsa. It is fundamentally identical to the old one, only slightly newer.

I would highly recommend this album to any fan of Ocean Eyes, but be warned there are no suprises, and everything was EXACTLY what I expected, which being an un-adventurous kind of person, suited me perfectly.