Final Fantasy Spectrum EP

Of the two EPs released by Owen Pallett this fall, Spectrum is clearly the choicest cut, touching on his familiar themes of fantastical metaphors while veering off in a much darker direction than Final Fantasy of old. Spectrum is the result of what Pallett calls "fake field recordings” — Pallett and the members of Beirut, who collaborated with him, spliced ambient bird chirps and other faunal utterances into the songs here from a field in Quebec. With his collaborators, the EP has much more of a meatier, full-band atmosphere than any of Pallett’s previous work. The ominous intro of opening track "Oh Spectrum” finds Pallett’s violin taking on the brutality of an abattoir knife; it’s quickly apparent there will be no "This Lamb Sells Condo” here. Spectrum never lets up from here on in, shifting gracefully from the mournful "The Butcher” to the subtle chug of "Cockatrice.” Pallett’s in fine form here, which thankfully bodes extremely well for whenever he decides to release the upcoming Heartland LP. (Blocks)