December 10, 2008
it’s the first of two new EP’s from Owen Pallett’s Final Fantasy moniker. sometimes i wonder if Pallett loves us or hates us, i mean his listeners. i think it’s a productive combination of the two. he seems to hate that his songs might be too palatable (pun intended) to a wide (read: popular) audience, and so he adds some dissonance and discord. this was most evident in his last FF work, “he poos clouds”, which took a very “dramatic” and despondent tone, musically and lyrically. and “spectrum, 14th century” definitely begins in this vein with the song “oh, spectrum”, unmelodious to an almost off-key effect (okay the bird chirps are beautiful). however, with the second track “blue imelda”, Pallett reconciles his/our anxiety and angst (at least acoustically) with a pleasing and assonant melody. it’s almost like he was smart enough to know that the first song would take the listener through a kind of acoustic bad dream, and the second song would lift her out of it and into an other worldly … fantasy.
Pallett is a fantastically proficient songwriter and performer; he knows song like most people know breath. so any criticism of his productions is forced to address his choices and his approach to the craft, rather than bringing into question his talent or abilities. and he’s also cute as a gay Canadian button, which i can’t say is such a bad thing. i look forward to his third full length album to be released in spring 2009.
as a side note, you’ve got to catch Pallett on tour as Final Fantasy; his live show is something of a minor miracle. he plays his violin into a loopback machine and builds his songs layer by layer. for one tour he had an artist friend of his on stage creating animations on an old school overhead projector.