There are some bands and creative musicians that seem destined to want to be forever known as being the back drop to a teen generation force fed a diet of sugary incessant banality and pre-Justin Bieber pap. They may offer much and look socially tempting but like a person gorging themselves on the worst aspects of dietary fibre and empty calories, they will leave you unfulfilled and raging against how they are constantly given air play.
Such is the problem that surrounds Owl City’s new album The Midsummer Station. Get past the rather cool art-work exterior, which has the visual impact that Rodney Matthews represented so well on the early Magnum albums and your left with the bloated and sickly feeling that goes alongside a meal being prepared by the most unhygienic –unimaginative poodle.
It’s not the synth rock feel, there is always a place for that and the 80’s renaissance of groups of Blancmange and Human League show that these albums can not only be good but rather special, it’s the tired and emotionally draining aspect that goes along side it. The lyrics leave a lot to the imagination, and you have to have the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Stephen King to be able to make anything out of the boyish secondary school like poetry that adjoins the music. It doesn’t just lack charm, it lacks substance and for that, it makes it a crime to have been released.
Intensely unlikeable, the album has the charm and grace of a banshee that has given up on life. No doubt it will sell really well and certain songs will make the listings of tracks to be placed in the post- American Pie teen films but ultimately will leave you feeling flat and ten pounds poorer.
Ian D. Hall