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Final Fantasy
Has A Good Home
Blocks Recording Club

Ok, check it: if you heard that the guy who played in, toured with, or wrote string arrangements for such noteworthy Canadian acts as the Arcade Fire, Picastro, the Hidden Cameras and Les Mouches was now pursuing a solo project consisting only of his voice, his violin, and a looping pedal, would you believe me? Would you be excited? Well, you should be. Chances are good that you've never heard anything quite like this before. And what exactly does mastermind troubadour Owen Pallett call his new project? Final Fantasy. As in the video games? Yes, the video games. Why? Because, as his website says, "[they] are the most amazing combination of melodrama, swords, capitalism, and Japan the world has ever seen. It's the perfect moniker for one to stretch out beneath the umbrella of faggy pretentiousness."

Whether or not you give a shit about the video games (or, like me, don't even know what they are), Final Fantasy is a musical force to be reckoned with. Pallett's dizzying violin melodies are sometimes accompanied by other instruments on the album - a scenario which, with the exception of drums, never happens in a live set - but even then, they serve no more than a complementary purpose. The only thing perhaps more prominent or magnificent than his lilting strings is his honey-smooth voice, which can maintain a hypnotic homogeneity or take heart-stopping leaps into higher octaves.

It's not just how he sings, but what he sings, that makes the vocals so fascinating. The songs vary from confessional to fantastical, but in all of it there is an underlying sense of humor and warmth, even when the subject matter is something as grave as death (pun intended). Personal favorites include: "This is the Dream of Win and Regime", "The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead", "Please Please Please", and "Learn To Keep Your Mouth Shut, Owen Pallett" (a song which is sung with an ethereal female vocalist, as if the angel on his shoulder were singing her rebukes into his ear). Having said that, there isn't a weak spot on the entire album; every song is an exquisite gem, and bears listening to on repeat. And for you vinyl hounds out there, take note: Final Fantasy is releasing two 7" records on June 25th. And if "Has a Good Home" is any indication, they are going to be fantastic.

-Emily Strong

Track listing:
1. None Of You Will Ever See A Penny
2. This Is the Dream of Win and Regime
3. Your Light Is Spent
4. Furniture
5. The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead
6. Took You Two Years To Win My Heart
7. The Chronicles of Sarnia
8. …
9. Adventure.exe
10. Library
11. That's When the Audience Died
12. Learn To Keep Your Mouth Shut Owen Pallett
13. An Arrow In the Side of Final Fantasy
14. Please Please Please
15. Better Than Worse
16. The Sea

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