In this day and age, labels and radios and whatnot are trying so hard to come up with the best new thing, the latest emerging sound, the never-heard-before band, that marvellous break-through act. And in assonance, there are musicians trying their best tricks to jump on the wagon. Yet there are other artists who refuse to blend in, whether willingly or not, conscious of the fact that music is malleable, transformable and an amalgamation of influences, past styles, conventions and random, though coherent, discoveries. This is the case of Owen Pallett aka Final Fantasy who is releasing his new album Heartland, full of exquisiteness and detail.
The music of Owen Pallet has solid foundations in classical repertoires. Having collaborated with bands such as Arcade Fire, Beirut or Grizzly Bear is not only a personal choice to multi-instrumental angular thinking but an ode to deeply rooted and natural maneuvers he cannot avoid. It comes naturally. It comes from the heart. Nevertheless, his talented and challenging spirit allows him to experiment with electronica and transport his dramatic pop symphonies into grand royal hymns. And Heartland is the perfect example of this. His new work flows without restraint (regardless of the pizzicatos in his violin and snappy hopping nuances), creating a fully rounded album with connected and intertwined pieces (if only for the 1 second gap between songs).
‘Keep the Dog Quiet’ is a fantastic teaser of dramatic orchestration and suspense. Playful at times, yet somber on the background. ‘Lewis Takes Action’ and ‘Lewis Takes Off His Shirt’ provide a knightly and divine tune surrounded with brass and horns while ‘E is for Estrangeland’ is a blissful display of classical soundscapes and angelical choir-like melodies. Sadness and euphoria in the mixer, the modern synthetic twist comes with ‘Tryst with Mephistopheles’, ‘Red Sun’ and ‘The Great Elsewhere’. But there is also room for sexiness and caprice in the form of ‘Oh Heartland, Up Yours!’, a keyboard-based tune of brilliance. Considering Owen tends to play solo using loops onstage and with the skill of a maestro, it is very hard to believe his music will pass unperceived this new year. If so, I am sure his record label will ensure you hear of him, willingly or not.
Words: Liane Escorza