A follow-up to Owen Pallett’s Heartland, A Swedish Love Story is an EP of all new music from Mr. Pallett. With an artist like Pallett, you really don’t have any idea which direction he might sway towards. Could this EP be more experimental indie pop? Could this be more instrumental? Could it be more vocal? What could it possibly be? Well, it’ll be pretty hard to top a masterpiece such as Heartland. But could this new EP come close?
Owen Pallett has been non-stop since his release of Heartland with constant touring, recording strings for The Arcade Fire’s latest album, and just recently appearing at the Polaris Awards. It seems as if the Toronto native has had his hands full this year. The hype for Mr. Pallett hasn’t seem to have reached it’s apex, but Owen Pallett is most likely one good supporting tour away from becoming huge.
If Heartland didn’t impress instrumentally (if you weren’t impressed, you’re lying to yourself), A Swedish Love Story should. I’ve said this earlier in the year and this short-release has confirmed it: Owen Pallett is the prototypical singer-songwriter all singer-songwriters should aspire towards. It’s music, and it’s really really good. Throw your overly-excessive ideas of weirdly deep metaphors and reverb tanks turned up to 12 in the trash. Owen Pallett is about as real and honest as singer-songwriter music gets. It’s not over the top and it’s not under-produced. It translates from the album to the stage very gracefully and transfers back from the stage to the album if you’ve seen him live and wanted to pick up a CD on the way out of one of his shows. A Swedish Love Story is no different than what he’s been putting out all year. Just good music.
There seems to be no hint towards whether these “brand new tracks” were actually brand new tracks or just b-sides from his previous studio adventures. In either case, it seems that this album doesn’t necessarily point in a general direction of where Owen Pallett will venture to next. Maybe not necessarily a great con, since the spontaneous nature of Owen Pallett’s songs are a majority of the reason it is so interesting, but interesting to note that he has been hard to pin point what will exactly be on the next release. We know it will have lots of technical violin and instrumental arrangements. We know he’ll maximize his vocal ability throughout the album. What we don’t know is whether we’re getting the more of the singer or more of the songwriter. And for some people, that is a con. The random unknown of Mr. Pallett is just that… who knows what the next song might be?
Well, it’s obviously a good album. A little more instrumentally, but that just might be because this is a more concentrated Owen Pallett. If someone said to sum up Owen Pallett in four songs you haven’t heard, this is a great way to get a taste of what he’s about. However, his LP releases do show a little more tact than what this has to offer, so if you’re looking for the musical experience rather than to be blown away by the musically gifted, just go ahead and get Heartland.