» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Final Fantasy
Plays to Please
Slender Means Society

Rating: 6.2/10 ?

October 31, 2008
When musicians pursue acting or actors pursue music, audiences are notoriously reluctant to accept the crossover, regardless of artistic merit. Occasionally, the talent actually translates well; other times, it's too difficult for audiences to reconcile identity versus function. That said, what of the arranger, the orchestrator, who performs?

More widely known for his work on the production side, arranging for The Arcade Fire among others, Owen Pallet has also earned credibility as a performing artist with his singing alter-ego, Final Fantasy. Pallet's latest release, the Plays to Please EP, is a sophisticated and elegant take on the songs of Canadian band Deep Dark United. While Pallet is able to convey classical music in an accessible way, the album reiterates his talent as a structuror rather than an executor.

Pallet is quite at home with his 35-piece orchestra, an ensemble that comes complete with the Hidden Cameras' Paul Mattews on double bass and Andrew Bird credited as a "whistler." Whereas muted horns and fluttering woodwinds give "Horsetail Feathers" an amiable sound, Pallet evokes urgency with the aggressive strings of "Ultimatum." The schizophrenic "Nun or a Bawd" sounds Gustav Holst-esque, expressing a range of moods from plucky to melodic. The soul of Plays to Please lies in its musicianship, and unfortunately Pallet's boyish vocals are lost in the grand orchestrations. Though he achieves the appropriate tenor, there exists a lack of balance. Juxtaposing swelling instrumental with modest croon makes the latter seem thinner than it should.

While Plays to Please has the charm of a sepia-toned age, what's missing is conviction. The albums' shortcomings amount to what feels like a genuine attempt at a solid recording, executed by a semi-confident front man. At its best, Plays to Please possesses intensity and depth in its dynamic interpretation, with Pallet styling himself as humble and reserved, but as "the performer," Pallet needs to overcome his inclination to stand behind the music.

Reviewed by Lara Longo
Lara Longo is a writer and photographer from Brooklyn, NY. In 1989, Lara received her first CD player and album, Appetite for Destruction; ever since, music is something she has fawned over, hated on, and played loudly. Her work has also appeared in Relix and New York Cool. Lara’s interests include sharks, European television, and the Hammond B3 organ.

See other reviews by Lara Longo



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