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Owen Pallatt – Heartland

Formerly going by the moniker Final Fantasy, Owen Pallett has now decided to continue forth with his latest musical project under the name Owen Pallett. Fitting, as it is a solo affair… even despite the overwhelming orchestral sounds on his Domino Records’ debut, Heartland.

Heartland sounds like the soundtrack for the drive to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory — not the film, but the act of actually driving there. Pallett’s haunting tones echo in and out while his violin swirls around, its grand orchestral peaks taking you to spectacular musical soundscapes.

Sometimes these orchestral indie affairs can get a bit lost and meandering, but no need to worry on this tour, as Pallett knows full well what he is doing. He co-wrote the string arrangements for a couple Arcade Fire albums, after all.

Or, at least through five tracks, Pallett knows exactly what he is doing. “The Great Elsewhere” adopts a sudden IDM influence and Pallett jumps a bit too far into the electronic stratosphere. The orchestral influences are still there, but the frenzied synthesizer beat and quick drumbeats just don’t really fit in with the album as a whole. Not to say the song isn’t good. On the contrary, it might be one of the most fun on the album, with its quick jarring opening into a synth layer that slowly builds amongst flashes of distortion.

Songs like “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt” showcase Pallett’s use of the synthesizer layers better. It is a soothing, quirky orchestral jig which powers along a very simple beat and uses horns to help tell the story. But it’s Pallett’s voice that really shines in this track; everything melds in perfectly and really showcases the power of Heartland.

When Pallett has it figured out — and mind you, he has a lot of instruments at work here — Heartland can be a calming listen which still maintains a complete stranglehold on your ears. Listening to Pallett croon about how he will never give it to you makes you really wonder what he is holding back, because this track is pure indie pop bliss.

Heartland is a really great way to open a new decade of indie pop, and Pallett has firmly established himself at the forefront of this very gentle charge. Outside of a few lapses in awareness of just where he stands musically, Heartland is a fine example of how good orchestral pop can be when done right. And even when he does it a bit wrong, it still makes for great pop music.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ( Quite pop(ish), occasionally orchestral and cinematique at times. There are some moments on this album and you might want to give it a go ). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Artist – Owen Pallett
Album – Heartland
Release Date – 2009
Genre – Chamber-pop, Indie, Alternative, Violin, Experimental

Tracklist
01. Midnight Directives
02. Keep The Dog Quiet
03. Mount Alpentine
04. Red Sun No. 5
05. Lewis Takes Action
06. The Great Elsewhere
07. Oh Heartland, Up Yours!
08. Lewis Takes His Shirt Off
09. Flare Gun
10. E Is For Estranged
11. Tryst With Mephistopheles
12. What Do You Think Will Happen Now
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Owen Pallett – Heartland
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Recommendations: Hey Rosetta! ~ I am You We Are ~ The Hylozoists ~ Milanku ~ Belle Orchestra
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TKS HOTBLACK…
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