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Owl City: Ocean Eyes

C-

Owl City

Album: Ocean Eyes
Label: Universal Republic

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Some people are content to wait for their favorite artists to make new music, but Adam Young is clearly a man of action. On the evidence of Ocean Eyes, the cutesy Minnesota electro-pop singer-songwriter got so tired of waiting for a follow-up to The Postal Service’s 2003 album Give Up that he decided to make his own fanfic version. The click-clackety beats and twinkling synth bleeps owe a clear debut to Jimmy Tamborello’s homemade production, though Young adds a bright sheen that owes something to J-pop as well, and his voice bears so much resemblance to Ben Gibbard’s that when “Fireflies” became a fluke No. 1 hit, it was hard not to think of Tom Waits suing Frito-Lay for using a sound-alike in a Doritos ad. There’s even a boy-girl duet (with Breanne Duren) on “The Saltwater Room,” à la Give Up’s “Nothing Better,” and anyone who thinks Gibbard’s lyrics are too twee for their own good would have an insulin attack upon contact with “Dental Hygiene”: “I’ve been to the dentist a thousand times, so I know the drill.” As Young himself puts it on “Hello Seattle,” “I will disguise myself as a sleeping pill and descend into you.” Mission accomplished.