[Album Review] Owen Pallett- In Conflict
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by Tiana Feng


Release Date: May 15th, 2014
Label: Secret City Records

I let In Conflict stir in my mind for a month before I decided to write this review. I even saw Owen Pallett play at Danforth Music Hall the week of its release. While Heartland, told us a tale, In Conflict is like a personal confession.

Off the top we have “I’m Not Afraid” which continually sings, “I’ll never have any children.” Halfway through we get the addition of strong percussion and electronic blips, mixing the organic with inorganic in beautiful chemistry. The opening of In Conflict shows that the minimal moments are just as effective as the well-orchestrated ones. Pallett’s voice has a way of reaching the depths of your body. You’ll practically forget that Brian Eno was a contributor to the album. Pallett’s own parts are just so strong, the violin and piano loops (“On a Path”).

All the songs have great depths, and multiple interpretations. “Song For Five & Six” questions our dreams and reality, but at the same time there’s a darker tone. “The Passions” is a chilling song of lovers with a moderate age gap (28 and 19). The tension-filled music gives it a forbidden atmosphere. He sings about the same young party girl in the following “The Sky Behind the Flag.”

“The Riverbed” is arguably the most heart-pounding of all of In Conflict and I can totally see why he chose to highlight this when giving us the first glimpses of new music. It’s also the closest he’ll ever come to making “rock” music. “Infernal Fantasy” reminds us of Pallett’s past under the Final Fantasy moniker. Playful rhythms show themselves throughout but particularly in “Soldiers Rock”. The bonus “Bridle & A Bit” features not Pallett’s vocals (no he is not singing falsetto) but Soul Sisters Supreme Redux 2.0. The arrangements is one of my favourites on the album and a look toward Pallett’s potential to play with more electronic sounds in the future.

In Conflict leads us into a variety of different personal conflicts, that are not so obvious at times. They are like confessions that do not necessarily want to be confessed.