INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Record Collector JUNE 2014 - by Jamie Atkins
OWEN PALLETT: IN CONFLICT
Pallett cleanser for a sting-driven thing.
There's busy and there's Owen Pallett. Since his last album, the stunning Heartland, Pallett has provided strings and arrangements for artists as Duran Duran, The National, Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire and Robbie Williams. In Conflict sees him using his remarkable talents for the best possible ends: a set of his own baroque, knowing and strange pop creations.
This album is Pallett at his most musically expansive yet lyrically introspective. While previous albums (including those under his former alias, Final Fantasy) weren't far removed from his striking one-man-a-violin-and-loop-pedal live shows, In Conflict benefits from his fullest arrangements yet. A pointed example is The Riverbed, given a treatment bordering on the aggressive as tumultuous strings are matched by percussion heavier than anything he's done. Elsewhere, On A Path could be Pallett's poppiest moment yet: a synth-pop gem complete with soaring chorus; Brian Eno features on both tracks - a clear indicator of Pallett's growing reputation. Similarly, the beat underpinning Song For Five & Six is positively Balearic.
Having always been lyrically obtuse (Heartland was a concept album based on a series of exchanges between a possibly psychotic farmer and his creator), here Pallett explores first-person narratives. Whether wholly autobiographical or not, it has the effect of grounding these eccentric and fabulous compositions, creating something otherworldly yet personal. His finest achievement yet.