For his third album, Owen Pallett has released an album under his own name for the first time, ditching the Final Fantasy moniker due to legal issues. Heartland is his first album since his Polaris-winning He Poos Clouds. In large part due to his previous album, as well his high profile collaborations with the likes of The Arcade Fire and Mark Ronson, this album has been generating an insane amount of buzz and rave reviews. Of all the reviews I've read, they have all ranged from 4 to 5 stars. So in other words, not too shabby.
I had a chance to see Own Pallett/Final Fantasy at the Regina Folk Festival a couple years ago and was completely mesmerized by his performance. A guy with a violin and a voice definitely doesn't sound that promising on paper but he definitely delivered the goods by creating lush soundscapes with a loop petal. He effectively became a one-man-band in the process and captivated the crowd.
So with all of these things in mind, I was pretty excited when Heartland finally came out a couple weeks ago. After listening to it for the first time, my initial reaction was "This is it???" Aside from "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt," no songs leap out at you. So I was pretty disappointed at the start. This is definitely an album you have to take the time to sit down and sink your teeth into. Pallett obviously spent a LOT of time constructing this album, which is primarily built around a series of intertwining, layered orchestral arrangements.
Despite my initial disappointment, I have come to really admire this album. It truly is an album that grows on you. I've listened to it about ten times so far and it keeps getting better and better. Because it is so layered, I hear new things with each new listen. I would recommend listening to this album with headphones because there are some dense sounds that kind of get lost in conventional speakers. So I'm glad I waited on reviewing this album because this album is definitely a case of not trusting first impressions.
Below is a great live clip of "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt."