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Owen Pallett

A Swedish Love Story EP

[Domino; 2010]

By ; October 4, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Halfway through “Honour the Dead, or Else,” the third track on the A Swedish Love Story EP by Owen Pallett, the listener comes to realise something. Pallett makes his music so charming and simple to listen to; he becomes almost an old friend even to those unfamiliar with his relatively small discography thus far. He’s a likeable character, which counts for much in the musical world even before he opens his mouth.

Of course, Pallett’s shy nature adds to his appeal. Once performing under the name ‘Final Fantasy’, Pallett hid himself beneath a wave of violin cuts and simple, inoffensive melodies. Although Square Enix, the company behind the ‘Final Fantasy’ franchise may have pressured Pallett to drop the moniker, it did little to affect his overall sound, which is displayed wonderfully on this short, four-track EP. Satisfyingly, the four tracks on the A Swedish Love Story EP are a fantastic demonstration of what Pallett has come to do very well. Simply put, Pallett’s music is incredibly easy on the palette.

Terrible puns aside, the EP is pretty standard fair for Pallett, albeit of a high quality throughout. The only major surprise is a slightly electronic opening to the first track, “A Man With No Ankles.” This track opens the EP well, with a lovely vocal performance from Pallett, who delivers wonderful violin flourishes at just the right time. One of Pallett’s main draws is his ability to play a violin and make it central to his sound. Pallett doesn’t over-indulge in this particular novelty, thankfully, instead using his expert knowledge of composition to flesh these already pleasant songs out with his instrument of choice.

Often classical – take the beautiful arrangement that opens “Scandal at the Parkade” – and always delightful, Pallett makes this EP sound like a breeze. Songs float by with gorgeous blends of violin and keyboard, as well as, in certain tracks, gentle percussion. The final weapon up Pallett’s arsenal, however, is also perhaps his greatest strength. As a vocalist he sings with a masterful timbre; soft most of the time and truly fitting for the music that he weaves. And it is true to suggest that these songs have been woven together like some sort of fantastical tapestry: melodies are articulate and develop slowly, completely breath-taking to listen to and get lost in.

It is rare that a four-track EP is worth the price of admission. For lovers of Pallett’s previous albums, Love Story will not disappoint with its classical, gentle approach. For those unfamiliar with Pallett’s works, it is a great starting point, demonstrating his natural talent for arrangements and capturing him at the pinnacle of his craft. As an EP, A Swedish Love Story is short, clocking in at under twenty minutes; and yet, it’s impossible to feel as if there should be more. This is a perfectly-paced, beautiful EP that completely fulfills its side of the bargain.


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