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Owen Pallett finds the sweet spot with uplifting In Conflict

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

3.5 out of 4 stars

In Conflict
Owen Pallett
Secret City

"Hurtle, hurtle into the breach, let your body fall out of reach."

The extraordinary new album from the wunderkind Owen Pallett is about liberation and minding gaps, and although the disc's brash poetry tends to be dark and elusive, the result is an uplifting package of tuneful theatricality and state-of-the-art chamber pop.

In Conflict is Pallett's first album since 2010's Heartland; the singer-violinist occupies his time by composing Oscar-nominated soundtracks for Spike Jonze and arranging strings for the Arcade Fires and Grizzly Bears of the indie-rock world.

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He also has a history with Hidden Cameras, and In Conflict recalls that group at its melodic best. Armed with a vintage synthesizer and contributions from Brian Eno, the brainy Pallett finds the sweet spot between discipline and losing control.

There are songs about his relocation from Toronto to Montreal (On a Path) and having sex while on LSD (Infernal Fantasy). And in a better universe than ours, the elegant euphoria of the title track ("there is nothing to lose, there is nothing to lose") would make for the refrain of the summer.

All told, Pallett's hurtling is something to shoot for.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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