released Jan 12th, 2010
from the album - Lewis Takes Action
YouTube - Studio 360: Owen Pallett performs "Lewis Takes Action"
from all music
Born Michael James Owen Pallett-Plowright, Owen Pallett is a singer/violinist from Toronto best known for his solo recordings as Final Fantasy. Classically trained from an early age, at 15 he started playing solo violin shows. As his musical interests shifted to indie pop, Pallett collaborated with a multitude of indie artists, including Jim Guthrie, Royal City, the Hidden Cameras, the Vinyl Cafe, Gentleman Reg, and Arcade Fire. As well as touring in various string sections in the mid-2000s, he was an active composer, writing arrangements for Arcade Fire’s groundbreaking Funeral and Neon Bible, along with albums for Fucked Up, Beirut, and the Last Shadow Puppets. Despite being the go-to violinist for other artists and an avid remixer, Pallett’s primary focus remained his own work as Final Fantasy. In 2005, he released Has a Good Home, which he followed up with 2006’s He Poos Clouds. In 2009, Pallett announced that he would no longer be using Final Fantasy as his moniker, to avoid confusion with Square Enix’s popular video game series by the same name. Plans were made to repackage his Final Fantasy back catalog, and in January of 2010, Owen Pallett released Heartland under his own name.
album review from contact music
As a reputable composer, writer and arranger of other people's works as well as his own, Owen Pallett could be forgiven for wanting to rewrite the history books - most notably his own - and start all over again from scratch. Whereas his both his previous solo albums have seen him record under the alias of Final Fantasy, 'Heartland' is the first to feature Pallett going under his own name. While it represents something of a new beginning, it also exudes both of its predecessors in terms of ambition and sheer devotion to some kind of uninhibited cause, in this case the tale of Lewis, a psychotically deranged farmer from Pallett's "Spectrum" world creation. However, as concept albums go, 'Heartland' isn't just another excuse to revisit some dungeons and dragons role-play obsession of mid-adolescence. Instead, Pallett's orchestral grounding coupled with his constant striving for perfection makes this a strong candidate for one of 2010's albums of the year already, despite being less than two weeks old.
Recorded over a nine-month period last year, 'Heartland' follows on from Pallett's most recent recordings, 2008's 'Spectrum 14th Century' and 'Plays To Please' EPs both structurally and lyrically. Long-time cohort Jeremy Gara of The Arcade Fire is once again involved while the delightful strains of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra punctuate the record's very core, not least on sprightly mid-point 'Flare Gun', previously released as part of a compilation some two years ago yet one of many potential singles here should Pallett choose to venture down such a road. Indeed, Pallett has been hinting at 'Heartland' being ready for public consumption far longer than the time it allegedly took to record, yet with just three albums in the space of a decade, one could hardly expect a prolific tendency to emerge overnight.
At the centre of 'Heartland' is the virile Lewis and even though Pallett's tones can sound as delectable whilst telling stories of murder and such atrocities as they can whispering sweet nothings, the likes of 'Lewis Takes Action' and 'Tryst With Mephistopheles' offer a more erudite vision of their creator's darkest recesses. Fusing classically weaved segments with carefully constructed pieces of electronica, Pallett's quest to create the perfect album holds no bounds, and as with 2006's 'He Poos Clouds', there's a feeling here that all probably wasn't that straightforwardly hunky dory throughout the making of this record.
Still, not one of 'Heartland' ten song-based pieces makes the <SKIP> button a more desirable proposition (we'll excuse the 50 second interlude of 'Mount Alpentine' for now) and instead, one could almost imagine Pallett setting the story of his "Spectrum" wonderland to celluloid in the none too distant future. For now though, 'Heartland' remains a near-perfect soundtrack to the innermost thoughts of its creator's turbulent mind. The word "genius" is often bandied about with wilful abandon, but in the case of Owen Pallett, its difficult to summarise such an astute songwriter and composer in any other way. Simply wonderful.
1 Midnight Directives
2 Keep the Dog Quiet
3 Mount Alpentine
4 Red Sun No. 5
5 Lewis Takes Action
6 The Great Elsewhere
7 Oh Heartland, Up Yours!
8 Lewis Takes Off His Shirt
9 Flare Gun
10 E is For Estranged
11 Tryst With Mephistopheles
12 What Do You Think Will Happen Now?