Owen Pallett – In Conflict

Heartland, the 2010 debut album by Canadian multi-instrumentalist Owen Pallett and first since he shed his Final Fantasy moniker, blew us away. It’s epic subject matter of a fantasy world of violence was packed full of gorgeous melodies, dramatic lyrics and superb orchestral pop.

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Lyrically and musically In Conflict is a different beast. Following a tour with The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, who specialises in autobiographical lyricism and story telling, Pallett has taken a more personal approach. Gone is the fantasy kingdom of Heartland that the fictional god Owen Pallett oversaw and in are stories and emotions direct from the modern day, Earth based man himself.

With this more personal focusthe music needs less drama. There’s still epic flourishes and touches but on the whole its Pallett’s voice that is given more space and vocally he sounds great here.

There’s also less violin looping and trickery too, with Pallett happy to let synths and a strong section take the strain. This gives it an ever so slight 1980s feel, with some tracks reminiscent of acts such as Depeche Mode or Soft Cell. I Am Not Afraid even has a wonderful David Sylvian Forbidden Colours moment half way through. On a Pathway and In Conflict are also great electro pop and the horns on Chorale are superb.

As Pallett moves further out of the shadow of his former stage name, which he abandoned for copyright reasons, his career and incredible ear for interesting pop continues to progress.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

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