Sound — 10
Final Fantasy, the side project of The Arcade Fire violinist Owen Pallett, has a sound unique to himself. I suppose it could be classed as Alternative Classical, or some such similar genre, but really it defies classification. 'He Poos Clouds' differs from his debut 'Has A Good Home' in that it is a far more complete album; that is to say, it functions as a complete album, not a selection of songs. Most reviews will bring up Owen's stated aims for the album, or his nerdy D&D references, but I intend to concentrate on the music. 'He Poos Clouds' is a symphony of rising strings and vocals with a definite rough undercurrent. The album's opener, The Arctic Circle, begins with stabbing strings which almost blend and disintegrate into a sweet melodic flow of sound. The juxtaposition of these styles is just one example of his musical ability; he also brings in the piano for perhaps the most easily accessible song on the album for a Final Fantasy newcomer, This Lamb Sells Condos. I could go through every song and point out what it is I love about each one, but it really does adhere to the clich: you have to hear it for yourself.
Lyrics — 10
Wierd, clever, obscure. Owen's lyrics draw on various topics including a semi-real obsession with Link from the Zelda series in the title track, or a damning inditement of the Toronto real estate developer Brad J. Lamb in This Lamb Sells Condos. Sung with some skill and variation (again on This Lamb, a female voice choir lay down a background to the bridge, whilst Owen whispers the voices of a gossiping neighbourhood and mimics a bickering married couple over the top 'Contentment, what's contentment?/I am bald and impotent/Is that what it's about?/Oh honey, honey, shut your mouth'). The lyrics and the music match perfectly, and, despite his protestations to the contrary, Owen's voice is ideal for his work.
Overall Impression — 10
For me, this is easily one of the best albums ever. That said, it is something that will divide listeners. For many, indeed most, it is either too weird, or the lack of the well-made band is just too radical for them; but for those of us who can listen and love, 'He Poos Clouds', and all of Owen's music, is something indefinably special. Best songs on the album? The Arctic Circle, This Lamb Sells Condos, He Poos Clouds and Many Lives 49MP. The worst? None, I honestly believe there is not a weak song on the album. In summary, you must listen to it, and try it out. Give it a couple of chances and don't dismiss it straight off. I hope you will adore it as I do, but if not, I can understand why.