Owl City make themselves heard

We’ve blogged a fair but about the steady advance of electronic music on mainstream charts in 2009. The latest, and a surprising one at that is Owl City. Owl City have scored a huge hit on Billboard and other charts in “Fireflies”. Much has been made of their similarity to Postal Service (and let’s be clear – it’s very close. When Softsynth first heard this song we were sure it was Ben Gibbard using an alias.) but what this really is, is the latest in a long line of similar-sounding bands, usually one-man set-ups, breathy soft vocals, blippy retro synths and usually a little jangly guitar thrown in. PlayRadioPlay, Mobius Band, Electric President and scores of other bands have cropped up over the last few years. Minnesota’s Adam Young is simply the latest in a very long line of similarly-themed bands, Postal Service among them (his eery similarity to Gibbard vocally makes the connection there a little more concrete, right down to the syntax and vocal affectations; his claim that he never listened to Postal Service before doesn’t pass the smell test). He’s released two albums this year, the most recent being Ocean Eyes, and he’s consistently catchy and melodically beautiful if lyrically a little overly simplistic (okay, the lyrics are really bad – sounds like poetry written by a pre teen girl. It’s good stuff in small doses, though one grows pretty tired of the whole thing after a couple of doses.

The question we pose it why this particular band? Why now? The sound is so similar to the above list why did they fail to break through with mainstream recognition the way Owl City have (we disagree with McNutt’s theory: People like owls)? Either way it’s always nice to see a continuation of the public acceptance of the genre even if they aren’t always aware of what it is they’re actually listening to.


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