Owen Pallett “A Swedish Love Story”
Pallett is one of the major players in moving Indie rock out of the bedroom and into the drawing room, his skill as an arranger and performer has brought pizzicato pluck and beatific bowing to many records. Here Pallett concentrates on his strengths, ‘Scandal at the Parkade’ is a whir of bows and plucks (imagine a soundtrack for Margaret Rutherford high on crystal meth bustling her way through an Agatha Christie whodunit with doubty elegance, all tweed and mischief) it’s a wonderfully seductive sound. And one that appears regularly on records by kindred’s, Andrew Bird, Woodpigeon, Efterklang who all dip their bows in this semi-refined space.
Clearly there’s a need to move on, Pallett does this by using electronics, the synths (well I think they are) meld seamlessly with the strings on ‘Honour the dead, or else’ it’s hard to pull them apart, the occasional thunders of timpani’s aside, this is a retreat into the 1980’s. The graceful strings on ‘Don’t Stop’ are undercut with some mechanised beats, so that it ends up playing like the Balanescu Quartet’s sting versions of Kraftwerk. It all makes perfect sense on ‘A Man with no ankles’ which trades on exuberances and the near perfect balance of the natural and the mechanical. Pallett has an advantage over most in that he’s totally in control of the music formally and he also touches the music with emotion. This short EP is a good summary of what Pallett is all about and maybe suggests a road ahead.