Owen Pallett: In Conflict (Domino) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, May 18th, 2024  

Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future IslandsOwen Pallett

In Conflict


May 27, 2014 Owen Pallett Bookmark and Share

Owen Pallett has had a good yearhe helped Arcade Fire compose the score to the film Her, and he’s embarked with the band on a globe-trotting arena tour for Reflektor. That output would be extraordinary enough, but somewhere along the line he’s found the time to record a brand new album, In Conflict, his first since 2010’s excellent Heartland.

Pallett’s solo work is always a bit difficult to parse. He’s clearly an accomplished composer, and his string arrangements in particular build and pulse like few other artists (which is probably why so many artists hire him for their albums). But sometimes, instrumental fussiness can get in the way of the music. He Poos Clouds (2006) was a fine album, but occasionally suffered from overly complicated music that obscured the wry humor in Pallett’s music. Heartland corrected much of this, adding danceable electronic textures and triumphant buildups to the Pallett formula.

In Conflict treads somewhere between the two albums. While electronic sounds bubble under the surface in songs like “Song for Five & Six” and “In Conflict” (and they completely drive “Infernal Fantasy”), much of the music is driven by strings. This is mostly successfulthe mournful “The Passions” is a lovely, strange love song with sweeping strings that belie the maybe-ominous-maybe-wonderful lyrics. On the other hand, “On a Path” feels a little flat and overdone.

Pallett has always specialized in darkly funny lyrics, and In Conflict is no exception. In early press materials, Pallett said the album “is meant to approach ‘insanity’ in a positive way.” And in many ways, that’s truePallett’s carefully constructed pop songs stand in stark contrast to the broken characters inside, who struggle with various types of mental illness, the difficulties of 21st century love and trying to figure out how to be the best version of themselves. It’s sometimes funny, sometimes uplifting, sometimes sad but always surprising.

In Conflict doesn’t find Owen Pallett breaking new ground, but that might not matter. He’s still bringing his exacting ear to perfect arrangement (sometimes a little overly so), along with a unique lyrical outlookand for the most part, In Conflict balances the two. (www.owenpalletteternal.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

Rate this album


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.