The album kicks off with “Fiji Water” and such is the innocent charm of the simplistic electronica I honestly thought this was inspired by the ‘Human Music’ from "Rick And Morty"…I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Jerry wasn’t singing this himself! Jokes aside, it combines the unsullied tinkling’s of a baby’s cot mobile stylistically with the sickly sweet vocals…the chorus is catchy enough and this is harmless pop music with some pleasant little hooks; a pretty safe start. Speaking of choruses, “Montana” delivers well with what could musically find itself at home on LINKIN PARKS’s “One More Light” album, naturally he’s no Chester but aesthetically it wouldn’t feel out of place, you can easily imagine Shinoda accompanying this.
Despite being known for the easy-listening electronica, there are a couple of tracks that utilise a more guitar driven approach…”Be Brave” being the first offering. Initially a delicate piano led piece, it takes advantage of the slow-build and gradually becomes this emotive, emo-rock track and it’s genuinely enjoyable as it kicks into gear. “Firebird” then swaps the piano for the acoustic strings and again, the hooks on this chorus are pretty infectious, allowing for a clear album highlight. This too can be said for “Lucid Dream” which when it gets going embraces a total European dance-pop characteristic…in the right hands a potential floor-filler this. By contrast then, the cutely titled “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” is a wonderful little tribute to his father via an acoustic ballad; equal parts nostalgic admiration and present-day appreciation.
While the tracks I’ve highlighted have their own charms and attributes…we can’t ignore the fact that, at eighteen tracks long…this is a lot of synth-pop to get through and given the very often butter-wouldn’t-melt level of innocence within the vocals and poppier-than-thou electronica, it can become overwhelming to the point of nausea. “House Wren” for example is just so incredibly corny, lyrically it makes my ears cringe…”Winners Never Quit” ironically made me want to abandon this review but I’m in too deep now…this might even make Charlie Sheen quit and he INVENTED winning! Aside from some alternate versions of tracks, the album officially closes on the title track and essentially it’s like an excuse to use a lot of movie-themed metaphors and analogies…no more. Essentially here, Owl City haven’t really changed one iota…their sweet electro-pop is still on the verge of troubling diabetics…while they can clearly still produce infectious, radio-conquering tunes, this album in its entirety is for want of a better word; excessive.