Owl City rose to prominence after the first single ‘Fireflies’ garnered much success and likability in 2009. Ocean Eyes is filled with small details to look out for, from its lyrics to the magic behind the outstanding production handled solely by former DJ, Adam Young (the sole member of the band).  The borrowed vocals from Christian rock band Relient K’s frontman, Matt Thiessen, are key to the harmonies and hooks in the record.

Ocean Eyes are basically a peek at somebody else’s diary. They lyrics are very confessional and spiritual, and even though they make up for pop music, they indeed are very much felt. The play on the lyrics is in fact really distinguished. The way Young conveys his metaphors reflecting love, vulnerability, frustrations and joy is worth taking hats off for. The whole album is worth checking out, but ‘Tidal Wave’ and ‘The Bird and the Worm’ are the highlights in the whole body of work. ‘The Bird and the Worm’ sings about defenselessness when in love; it encloses a flounce on a sunny day with the production from ‘Fireflies’ to an acoustic fast paced rhythm combined with piano.  ‘Tidal Wave’ calls upon a higher source of help when faced with hassles and obstacles; it suggests divine power looking over and uncovers Christianity and faith conviction to its fullest.

The hindrance with this record is it at times becomes too droning. The production is tremendous but the rest of the album sounds like a remixed version of ‘Fireflies’. The record tries to break away from what composes ‘Fireflies’, and achieves it in some tracks, but the rest suffer from the rebound effect; it is difficult to discern between which song is which afterwards as plenty sound too similar (‘Hello Seattle’ deceives it is ‘Fireflies’ when it starts playing).

One thing which cannot be denied is the album cuts (despite being similar) moving unto different ground once they have warmed up to the listener. They outdo themselves slightly either lyrically or in tempo (one virtually sees the songs evolve on their own).  Also, the very unabashed positive suggestions in the songs, where Young chooses to ‘pick flowers instead of fights’ (‘Dental Care’), makes the album invigorating, uplifting and vivacious, if not completely bouncy and high spirited.

‘Fireflies’ is remarkable, it does not sound like anything playing on radio, but after the structure of it is used several times, it loses its shine (at least not entirely). Ocean Eyes suffers from ‘the ocean’ to some extent refracting the light of the sun on the waves, meaning it re-does what it has already done. The lyrics move forward, but the sound does not quite keep up the pace.

The album seems like something coming from outer space, it is dancey synth pop, somewhat soft rock-edged and acoustic. Despite the album nearly self ripping itself off, Ocean Eyes is original, emotive, cute and silken.

★★★1/2

C.Perez