Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best or sometimes just the biggest of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
As if we could have asked anything more of Owen Pallett after he gave us Heartland earlier this year. After its boundless imagination and its guts, its beautiful neuroses and its unrivalled execution, he still gave us the breathless orch-popped bliss of songs like “Empty Room” from Arcade Fire’s own little masterpiece, The Suburbs. And now he’s released A Swedish Love Story, the four-song EP that eschews any usual post-album cast-off syndrome to sound every bit a full album—largely a classic Final Fantasy album, at that.
A Swedish Love Story opens with the warm synthy organ and programmed percussion of the stellar “A Man With No Ankles” (streaming to the right), an 80s euro-pop/new wave delight that ends better than it starts, with Pallett’s violin dragging from flight into thick, murky notes atop various chirping, warbled electronic blips. The sound here is great and the spirit is hearty. A lot of this EP manages to effectively convey a playfulness and personality—and on “Scandal at the Parkade” even a bit of off-mic improvisation, which, paired with the scaled-back song (sounds to be just him on this one), evoke Pallett’s live performances like we don’t often hear on his records.
At this point, Pallett can do no wrong. A Swedish Love Story may not compare to Heartland in sheer scope alone, but in just seventeen minutes we manage to hear moments of him at his best, somewhat unrestrained, self yet. He’s made a sound pretty much entirely his own and if this between-albums album is any indication, he’s definitely not done figuring out its, or his, capacity.