Brian Eno is MORE DARK THAN SHARK
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"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno

The Music MAY 21, 2014 - by Brendan Telford

OWEN PALLETT: IN CONFLICT

Owen Pallett's intricate song compositions have been the backbone of Arcade Fire 's more ebullient extrapolations, and he's been a strings-for-hire for the likes of Beirut, The National and Spike Jonze. Yet solo, the Canadian brings forth much more introspective, ultra-personal pop that is equal parts mawkish and confident. Like Sufjan Stevens, Pallett's softly lilting voice plays well on the stereo; unlike Stevens, Pallett's grandiose, garrulous and wryly emotional lyrics and compositions do not.

With In Conflict, Pallett's second LP under his own name, he doesn't change this trajectory. If anything, the ambitious melding ohf live instrumentation (with the aid of a Czech orchestra), orchestral synthesizers from Brian Eno boosts Pallett's idiosyncrasies a hundredfold. I Am Not Afraid is a strings-piano-and-electronica heavy musing of overcoming real and perceived fears, and the album only builds from there. The Riverbed is a terser affair, a clamorous effort with a marching beat and guitar riff driving Pallett's operatic mores, something Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart might find a kinship with, while the Talking Heads-esque playfulness of Soldier's Rock plays with form as Pallett sings, "Pick up the bayonet / And run it through the stomach of your brother".

Nothing about In Conflict is easy nor should it be. This is Pallett's world, one of ingenuity, flamboyance and verve and no compromises are necessary.


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