Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Album Review: Owl City - Ocean Eyes (4.5 / 5)

Owl City was formed in 2007. It's a one man Electronica band, featuring 23 year old, Adam Young. I don't know much about the history of Young, but I do know that his debut album, Ocean Eyes, is a fantastic mellow dance pop album. Chock full of mid-tempo, lighthearted, summery dance pop tunes. It's not Lady Gaga esque dance, but more traditional and not so top 40/contemporary. Fluctuating swiftly between its uptempos and its mids, It's what you would acquire whilst composing oneself on the beach this summer. Someone pointed out to me that they thought Young was America's answer to Calvin Harris, I've yet to contemplate on that thought.

Ocean Eyes, is a simple yet intriguing collection of songs, songs that don't necessarily attain an accustomed song structure. The album shows signs of pop presence, whilst for the most part it is a dance album, fusing tensions with Electronica, which is essentially the paramount base for Young's music. Moby also seems to serve up some inspiration for Young on here, of course Moby's music is generally more mellow and more cultured dance, pop and electronica, which has proved a winning formula for many of his albums and the more upbeat and direct venture in electronica seems to be the winning formula for Young on here. Kicking off the album is the subtle "Cave In," a cataleptic opener, pulsing with spectral synth chords, also backed with scattering clicks and claps and Young's sharp vocal over the attenuate beat. The synth indulged club track "Umbrella Beach," is great summery venture; just among the albums greatest club styled numbers.

One of my favorites is the slower and almost ballad like "Vanilla Twilight," a distinctively melodic fueled number. It's cutesy love mid-tempo, with sugary lyrics such as ("the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly"). I love how the song can be considered a ballad, but still runs through with a blissful, breezy, atmospheric composition.

"The Bird and the Worm," is a playful, acoustic styled number, mostly made up of ("da da da da") in the chorus. Although I really like it, it is the victim of dampening down the albums steam so early on. "The Saltwater Room," is another acoustic styled song, It's more upbeat and assertive than "Worm," but still putting across an airy branded theme.

"Meteor Shower," is a fantastic song. It's a unique combination of traditional balladry, mainly using the piano and assertive drum, string and synth between verse, hook and chorus, It works really well. I've seen this done many times and this is definitely the best I've ever heard this type of composition sound, adding a rich sense of rock, murmuring behind the configuration.

The more mellower "On the Wig" I also like, maybe not as much as the others, it just seems like a bit of grower. It's a breezy mid-tempo about love, although making sure the lyrics don't come across too lovey dovey but still getting the point across. "Fireflies," starts out quite dark alternative sounding, before breaking into a more light dance pop sound. "The Tip of the Iceberg," is probably the only track I've yet to like. It has a nice whimsical beat, but that's where the credibility stops.

The bleepy "Hello Seattle," is one of the first pop flavored numbers to appear, It has a Robyn esque feel to it. Backed with consistent bleeps and rhythmic handclaps and apparent syth lines. While I'm more interested in how good this song sounds, Young does give some pretty interesting lyrics ("I'll disguise myself as a sleeping pill and descend inside of you"). "Dental Care," is a European-ish sounding number, pondering with tambourines, claps and an abundantly catchy hook. The 'dental care' topic, I thought would've been an innuendo for another matter, but to much surprise, Young is actually telling the story of his trip to the dentist, I don't see to many cases of eminently specific lyrics.

Closing the album is "Tidal Wave," which I get a Killer's sound from, especially in the verses. I like the blend of acoustic guitar and futuristic bleeps, It works really well. There's only one song that I'm yet to be a fan of, but apart from that, Ocean Eyes, is a great debut. I hope to see more of Adam Young in the future, maybe as a mainstream dance pop artist.

Best: Umbrella Beach, Vanilla Twilight, Meteor Shower, Cave In, Hello Seattle, Dental Care, Tidal Wave, Fireflies, The Saltwater Room


Anonymous said...

Just to say..
ocean eyes isn't owl city's debut
its more like..2cd after "maybe im dreaming". He also released an EP called "of june".
But otherwise, great review! I can't wait to get his new album!

Anonymous said...

Yep !

-Of June (EP)
-Maybe I'm Dreaming
-Ocean Eyes

in that order.

Anonymous said...

solid review, great cd