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Video of the Moment #1814: Owen Pallett

 
By on Friday, 29th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

I thought it might be a nice idea to commemorate the historic Irish marriage referendum taking place earlier this week with a visual representation of the complex ideas of what love is courtesy of Owen Pallett. The Canadian singer/songwriter describes the ‘The Passions’, off his critically acclaimed 2014 album ‘In Conflict’, like this:

“I wrote ‘The Passions’ after a period during which my definitions of “love” were being redefined. Queers are united by our desires, by our prioritization of the needs of our bodies and souls over the needs of tradition and societal structures. But I feel there is more to it than that. Our lovers are our family, our brothers and sisters as well as our sexual partners. ‘The Passions’ is about the blurry distinction between these definitions.”

Watch the promo video for ‘The Passions’ below. ‘In Conflict’ is available now on Domino Records.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qleGP0sN_mE[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Owen Pallett – In Conflict

 
By on Friday, 6th June 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

This review of ‘In Conflict’ was harder than most for me to write. I felt so out of my element. Indeed, with Owen Pallett’s impressive credits like an Oscar nomination for the score to the Spike Jonze film ‘Her’ and arranging for Arcade Fire, I knew that his album would be full of elements and technical virtuosity that would be beyond my simple tastes.

Sure enough, with each ensuing listen I went deeper, heard more and became more lost. I was sure I was experiencing a pretty great musician; I just couldn’t break it all down. But one would expect nothing less than brilliance from the fourth studio full length album from the violinist/arranger. And what did I eventually discover? Music that is both technically beautiful and artistically challenging while remaining accessible to listeners like me without classical training. Pallett presents a series of songs that are varied, layered, complex and interesting on many levels.

Despite Pallett’s clear pedigree, he still possesses the soul of a down to earth musician, ready to mix it up, experiment and occasionally hold onto standard pop sensibilities. A line in ‘The Secret Seven’ even perfectly encapsulates the everyman musician’s humble bread and butter of busking: “I’m out on the street, an open case and a mandolin and with every coin I am born again”. ‘In Conflict’ the LP gives us an intriguing mix of electronics, piano and, of course, strings. The album is bright, complex and varied. This is a musician who knows his craft and can stretch the boundaries of experimentation without sounding gimmicky or contrived. Being a violin player, Pallett has utilized strings instead of many of the more traditional rhythm instrumentation. It lends a unique flavor to the record and goes way beyond a pop album having orchestration added to it, ensuring that the strings are a much more organic part of it.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSYUeUYa6Wk[/youtube]

Additionally, contributions from Brian Eno add a panache that cannot help but be felt. For me, the standout track on the album was ‘The Sky Behind the Flag’. It starts out a bit choppy with just a touch of the recitative nature of good ’60s musical theatre, but the complexity of this truly wondrous piece develops as it continues on. I admit that I resorted to headphones to absorb all the facets of what was offered. The subtly of the layers and the depth of the soundscape were marvelous and was something one could truly get lost in, a sentiment echoed in the repeated line, “oh I gotta lose control, why can’t I lose control?” The simple reference of himself as the sky that floats behind a flag is both expansively descriptive and reprises the idea of getting lost behind what is easily seen.

The only flaw in an otherwise brilliant album is my own personal preference. The quality and timbre of Pallett’s voice is not my favorite, so while being fascinated and enthralled by the music, the album itself was slightly diminished for me because of that. A stronger voice may have propelled the whole thing to heights beyond comprehension.

8.5/10

‘In Conflict’, Canadian Owen Pallett’s fouth album is out now on Domino Records and Secret City Records. Pallett will be touring the UK and Ireland starting mid-July; for more details, go here or visit his official Web site.

 

Owen Pallett / July 2014 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd June 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Canadian composer and buddy to Arcade Fire Owen Pallett will be playing a few dates in the UK and Ireland in July. Tickets are on sale now.

Stay tuned for a review of his fourth album ‘In Conflict’ later this week.

Tuesday 15th July 2014 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Wednesday 16th July 2014 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Saturday 19th July 2014 – Glasgow CCA
Sunday 20th July 2014 – Dublin Whelans
Monday 21st July 2014 – Galway Roisin Dubh

 

Live Review: Arcade Fire with Owen Pallett, the Vaccines and Mumford and Sons at London Hyde Park – 30th June 2011

 
By on Monday, 11th July 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Editor’s note: We imagine that Arcade Fire’s show at Manchester’s MEN Arena won’t have the same curfew issues as this Hyde Park show. So why not enter our contest for a pair of tickets to the show, if you haven’t all ready? Full contest details here.

Montreal outfit Arcade Fire’s trips to England are often something of conversation and big steps. Last year came the controversial decision to have the group as headliners for Leeds and Reading festivals, which was quickly followed by a huge European and world tour which hit some of the most prominent arenas in the world. Follow this with Grammy and Brits success, and last year was a big year for The Subu..I mean Arcade Fire (sorry Barbra Streisand) all in all, and now with the deluxe version of their third record, ‘The Suburbs’, in stores and the Spike Jones short film released, the troupe have assembled at a bigger stage once more at Hyde Park, London.

Not that you can hear them though. Due to the restrictions at Hyde Park, Win Butler and Co. aren’t running at 11, more 7 and you can tell that it’s irritating them. “The neighbourhood wants you to be quieter”, shouts Win during ‘Power Out’. It’s greated by a muffled cheer. Sadly, this hasn’t been an issue earlier in the evening as volume levels have been relatively high all afternoon. First up was Owen Pallett. Specially chosen by tonight’s headliners and later joining them on stage as an extra to their live setup, Pallet played a selection of his finest tracks and began to warm up a crowd who, mostly, hadn’t heard of him.

The Vaccines are riding on the back of their debut album at the moment, which has seen them become one of the hype bands of the year. Their catchy tunes storm over Hyde Park and they go down a treat for many. Their Strokes-esque style gives the crowd a lot to jump about, even if sometimes, it’s hard to explain where one track ends and another begins.  Beirut then bring a renaissance to the park, giving everyone a much needed refreshing sound. It’s different to anything else you’ll hear in such a huge venue, and the crowd warm to it well, even without knowing many of the tracks.

After a long changeover comes 70 minutes of Mumford and Sons. For many here, the group are the main attraction, and in glimpses, you can see why. ‘Little Lion Man’ brings a huge singalong and jig from the thousands assembled in a now boiling Hyde Park. Playing a selection of songs from their second album, which should be released by the end of the year, the indie-folk men are in high spirits. I can’t help but feel like Mumford and Sons miss something though and at times, they bore me immensely. Their style becomes monotonous and when you know about the band as people, you start to question where their lyrical choices stop being heartfelt and start being cliches It is however a riotous end with ‘The Cave’ bringing their set to a close.

Twenty minutes later, Arcade Fire step out into their biggest UK show to date and they’ve decided to change it around a bit. Gone is the air of predictability that has been building around them and instead the usual set closer ‘Wake Up’ is played second so “we can see people’s reaction,” says Win Butler. It’s a night that really shows that Arcade Fire have begun their transition from the band that made ‘The Suburbs’ to a seriously big group about to progress to their fourth album. Every part of their careers has been a steady progression from a band of relative unknowns to a group on the verge of Stadium Rock and when a track like ‘Month Of May’ comes along, there’s pandemonium in both crowd and stage. Everyone seems to be on board watching a band in the form of their lives realise who they can be.

Giving their UK debut to deluxe ‘Suburbs’ track ‘Speaking in Tongues’ and prompting an echo with every singalong part to their music, the dedication in the area is huge. For a band with so many mid-power songs, you can hardly compare them to the Eno sound that Glastonbury headliners Coldplay and U2 demonstrated the week before, but you can certainly see them at the top of the Pyramid stage billing in 2 years time. Especially with huge tracks such as set opener ‘Ready To Start’ and ‘Keep the Car Running’ that features in their encore. Over the period of 90 minutes, Arcade Fire do have a few lapses. They’ve still not quite got the full singles collection to fill such a huge occasion, however when you’ve written album tracks as good as ‘Rococo’, who really minds?

Tonight then, whilst not being a huge triumph, has seen the Canadian group cement their position in the record collections of all present and given a tip of the hat to those who questioned their capacity to do huge shows. Closing with ‘Sprawl II’, Regine Chassange’s crowning moment in ‘The Suburbs’ leaves everyone feeling just as warm as they were when the sun was beating down just a few hours ago. If they can turn up the volume again, they could just conquer.

More photos from this concert after the cut.
Continue reading Live Review: Arcade Fire with Owen Pallett, the Vaccines and Mumford and Sons at London Hyde Park – 30th June 2011

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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