Owen Pallett – A Swedish Love Story

January 01, 1970








His second release after releasing himself
from the Final Fantasy mantle, A Swedish
Love Story
is Heartland‘s
little-brother EP, the songs that sounded too “poppy” to fit that bluely
simmering epic. Half the songs, ‘Scandal at the Parkade’ and ‘Honour the Dead
or Else’ have been knocking around for quite a few years at live shows and on
subsequent bootleg downloadables, though in the usual skeletal form required
for Pallett’s technique of looping ‘n’ layering the output of violin and
keyboard. That said, they never feel incomplete at that point. ‘Honour the Dead
or Else’ used to build quite extraordinarily from a bongo-like thump of the violin,
chirping plucks from elsewhere on its body, and a guttural, quivering drag of
the bow across its strings, up and up through to the cumulative cry, “sssss-
ssssssselfish, selfish sleepy boy!” Recorded, it feels as though the track’s
flesh (echo & Moog) has overburdened that skeleton somewhat, slowed down
the lithe leaping demon it was. It’s still sad as hell but no longer as
arresting. The refrain is sung, not shouted. This seems the fate of all the old
Final Fantasy songs: Pallett gets bored of yelling, tries to be ever subtler,
more devious, odder in turns of musical phrase.


Swings/roundabouts. The other three tracks
are stunning, more like Heartland‘s
cream than its excess. They share the pop and pomp of album track’s ‘Lewis
Takes Action’, with ‘A Man with No Ankles’ recalling the melody of one-off
‘Lewis’s Dream’ (if you recall, it was used in a margarine advert). Maybe it’s
the hair-whipping allure of Lewis, the enigmatic protagonist of Heartland, that permeates these tracks,
even if Pallett has wrapped it around a new love affair, nodding to the film En Kärlekshistoria from 1970. Or maybe
it’s a more general Swedish disease making this shit so danceable, with various
inspirations & shared performances from Jens Lekman taking place not so
long ago. Either way, it is a blessing that these songs finally reached the
light of day and mirrored it right back, right through to the dreamy,
heat-hazey final track ‘Don’t Stop’. It is an EP that begs itself not to end –
that’s a pretty dizzy love affair.


DOWNLOAD: “Don’t Stop,” “Lewis Takes Action” MERYL TRUSSLER

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