In case you don’t pay attention to these things, let me start by telling you that Owen Pallett produced his work, up until this new release, under the artist name Final Fantasy. For four years, Pallett has poured his energy and sweat into Heartland, and it’s now paying off. This third album has been well received and much of the tour he’s now on is sold-out.
Heartland begins with organs and a choir-like harmony. This culminates into a peak and suddenly throws the listener into something completely different than what it started as. Tribal drum patterns are matched by Pallett’s tenor vocals. The melody has a summer Caribbean feel to it while what sounds like a string quartet balances the tone and style of Pallett’s voice.
The album is dominated by a sense of importance. One phrase leads into the next and it’s urgent that it be heard. Heartland will not take kind to being turned off mid-point. It appeals to the emotions of its listeners in all its symphonic glory. The lyrics, on the other hand, seem dark considering the tone of the music which is much more light-hearted. Pallett calls out poetry like in “Red Sun No. 5” when he sings “Until the sun rose crimson / Crept across my limbs and / I saw that they were earthen / That they decay and worsen.”
The instrumentals in here alone make it commendable. From end to end, violin, horn, oboe and percussion greet the listeners’ ear. The Czech Symphony, Jeremy Gara of Arcade Fire, and others have helped to contribute to Pallett’s complete work. In its entirety, Heartland sounds like an epic and valuable film score.