Album review: Mobile Orchestra – Owl City
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.