“The new record was largely inspired by Unwed Sailor, Air, New Order, Cocteau Twins, Boards of Canada, A Tribe Called Quest and Goldfrapp,” Adam Young (a.k.a. Owl City) tweeted about his new album a month or so back. A diverse and impressive list of influences, no doubt—but with its daydreaming vocals, occasionally corny lyrics and ever-present synth squelches, new single “Alligator Sky” ends up still sounds a whole lot like the Postal Service, a comparison that has dogged OC since their single “Fireflies” became a surprise chart-topper back in 2009. (At least they added a rapper this time—Cali dude Shawn Christopher, whose contributions don’t sound nearly as out of place as you’d probably expect.)
Truth told, it seems like Owl City don’t even care about what people think about them. Or at least, I hope for their sake that they don’t, since they certainly leave themselves open to plenty mockery with vids like the “Alligator Sky” clip, with its panoramic-but-impossibly-dorky Planet of the Apes meets Wall-E (meets Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts“) sci-fi visuals. And then there’s the lyrics: “Where was I / when the rockets came to life / And carried you away / Into the alligator sky?” Oooh boy. You have to admire the complete lack of self-consciousness, even if you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be associated with Adam’s cafeteria table in high school.