Album Reviews

Album Review: Owen Pallett – Heartland (Domino)

By | Published on Tuesday 23 February 2010

Owen Pallett

Formerly recording under the moniker Final Fantasy, Owen Pallett has dropped the homage to classic role-playing games, officially to avoid confusion in the Japanese market (where the game originates), though possibly also to capitalise on the reputation he has garnered in recent years under his real name through his orchestral and arrangement work for the likes of Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear and Last Shadow Puppets.

When working on his own music, Pallett is a gifted composer of elegant modern indie-electro compositions with a classical twist, clashing the analogue with the digital, and knowing it’ll work. He’s Patrick Wolf without the constant need to scream “LOOK AT ME!” For, despite his many talents, and his real name being attached to this album, ‘Heartland’ is not his ego on display for all to see.

Instead, it is another trip through his fictional world, Spectrum, what would be this artist’s Narnia, following Lewis, an inhabitant of this land, and contemplating his aggressions and confusions. The music reflects the process, beginning with dramatic, but steady stabs of reflection in ‘Midnight Directives’, then coming to the driving assertion of ‘Lewis Takes Action’, developing the lively fantasy of ‘Flare Gun’ and finding epiphany in the ethereal synths of  ‘Tryst With Mephistopheles’.

It’s a bold album, attempting to unite old with new, and literature with music, but it works. Remarkable as both a Fantasia-like surreal electro-opera, or twelve songs of cutting-edge North American indie. TM

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