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Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy - Spectrum 14th Century EP

Spectrum 14th Century EP
Blocks Recording Club - 2008

Michael Panontin
Spectrum 14th Century is the first in a pair of EPs issued in anticipation of Final Fantasy's third full-length, Heartland. Recorded at various locations in the summer of 2007 along with members of Beirut, this five-song EP comes as a "fake field recording" replete with found bird calls and a nifty replica gatefold slipcase. Though Owen Pallett's usual shtick of looping and then layering instrumental snippets is tossed off a bit here in favour of something more orthodox, the resulting mix is certainly no less brilliant. Clocking in at just over 17 minutes, Spectrum... is an exquisitely crafted disc of lushly orchestrated songs, where Pallett's vocals - fragile, plaintive, and truth be told occasionally anemic - are flanked by strings, piano, kettledrums, thumb piano and steel drums to mainly positive result. The whole EP is a delicate affair, with stirring violins sharing space with handsomely arranged horns and strings. On some tracks, like the 'The Butcher' and its heart-rending violin solo, there is a worldly serenity that even approaches the genius of Sufjan Stevens. By itself Spectrum 14th Century is a lovely EP, but for those hungering for the full-length Pallett treatment, these five sonic morsels should no doubt suffice until the release of Heartland sometime next year.

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