x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Album Review: The Midsummer Station by Owl City

Courtesy of working with the hit producers Stargate, Owl City's latest album has forgone the homespun charm of previous recordings in favour of a glossier sheen.

Owl City

The Midsummer Station

(Universal)

•••

If pop music is sweet to the ears then Owl City's blend is positively diabetic. The successful solo project by the 26-year-old American singer-songwriter Adam Young has polarised fans and critics, with some enchanted and others finding his efforts grating. But as Young's sweeping 2009 hit Fireflies demonstrated, when he is on form, he really does have a way with melody. This fourth Owl City project doesn't stray too far from the formula, with its uplifting mix of big choruses coupled with electronic blips. However, courtesy of working with the hit producers Stargate, the homespun charm of previous albums has made way for a glossier sheen. If Young previously sang songs to keep you company in your bedroom, the opener on The Midsummer Station, called Dreams and Disasters, is for the clubs, with a keyboard build-up resembling those used by the DJ David Guetta. The clunky melodies of Good Time, his duet with the bubblegum YouTube sensation Carly Rae Jespen, is barely saved by its sun-kissed melodies, while the initially dour Embers ushers in a welcome guitar-blast in the chorus. The Midsummer Station won't win over new fans, but with Young's optimism remaining as big as his hooks, there is a fair bit to enjoy here.

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