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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Album review: Mobile Orchestra – Owl City

Mobile Orchestra reaches out beyond Adam Young’s loyal late teen fan-base with a smattering of EDM tracks and even a country tune.
 Mobile Orchestra by Owl City.
Mobile Orchestra by Owl City.

Mobile Orchestra

Owl City

(Republic)

Three stars

The title of Owl City’s fifth album heralds its ambition. Mobile Orchestra aims to reach out beyond Adam Young’s loyal late-teen fan base with a smattering of EDM tracks and even a country tune.

When it comes to the club sounds, lead single Verge (featuring Aloe Blacc) is the best of the bunch with its fluid transition from U2-style guitar effects to four on the floor Europop.

The Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears guests on the country-tinged Back Home, but Young steals the show, however, proving his honey-throated vocals are equally suitable over acoustic arrangements as opposed to just electronica. Being Owl City, though, there are a few howlers. Unbelievable, featuring Hanson, is dire.

An ode to growing up in the 1990s (complete with references to Nintendo, Girls Aloud and Jurassic Park), the pop-rock track is simply turgid. While the muscular hooks of Bird With a Broken Wing are nearly ruined by the banal lyricism. It is when Young lets go of the reins a bit, as in the rock ballad of My Everything, that he shines. Simple and moving, the song encapsulates the wide-eyed wonder and innocence responsible for Owl City’s success.

sasaeed@thenational.ae