Bizarre, bizarre, bizarre.
Chamber music constructed around D&D’s eight schools of magic may not seem like an ideal premise for a record but Owen Pallett pulls it off and he does it with astonishing grace and seeming ease.
Channeling Van Dyke Parks as readily as Stephen Prina or Xiu Xiu, Pallett builds relatively short chamber compositions around a stirring string quartet and carefully choreographed performances from piano, harpsichord and percussion. But the glue is Pallett’s voice, delicate and vulnerable among a shifting sea of strings and dramatic arcs of sound.
Aside from the, um, uninviting title of the record, He Poos Clouds can feel borderline-flawless, from the jazzy Reclinerland-ish lullaby “This Lamb Sells Condos” and the sweeping (and sometimes roaring) wallop of “Many Lives -> 49 MP” to the highly percussive hop of “Song Song Song” and “The Pooka Sings,” the morose and toned-down album-closing tear-jerker.
This is not a record from someone without more exciting work to come. Take note. – Punk Planet, September/October 2006