Design By Humans
Published On: Sun, Jun 29th, 2014

Owen Pallett: In Conflict

owen pOwen Pallett
In Conflict
(Domino Recording Co Ltd)

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Owen Pallett is not an easy artist to process. Many of us put on music as a soundtrack while we’re multitasking, but In Conflict is an album that demands (and, indeed, commands) your attention. Pallett does not walk the line between conventional pop hooks and the classical/orchestral work he has contributed to other acts. Instead, the violinist creates his own space that is strange, but beautiful and captivating.

There are lyrical moments when Pallett is utterly candid, such as on “The Passions” when he says, “We talked about the drugs and decided to abstain/You hold your pinkies on my jeans/I’m 28 and you’re 19.” “The Secret Seven” addresses mental illness and the abuse of LGBT youth, and the track was influenced by the suicide of gay teenager Tyler Clementi. “It doesn’t get better,” Pallett sings, no doubt reacting to the It Gets Better Project. The song ends with Pallett sharing a phone number, a personal gesture that goes beyond mere encouraging words for those suffering.

But to focus on words alone would be a disservice to someone with such lush orchestration. The brass section of the FILMHarmonic Orchestra Prague provides an unconventional focal point for “Chorale,” while synthesizer is a dizzying centerpiece in “Song for Five & Six.”

To go into worthy detail of each song wouldn’t be short and sweet, so you’ll simply have to take my word for it. If you like smart, engaging music, you simply can’t go wrong with Owen Pallett.

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Owen Pallett: In Conflict