If you are a musician and you want to give props to another musician, perhaps the greatest, most grand way of showing your love is by recording a tribute album. And if you're Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), you'll outdo yourself by hiring an orchestra to back you up. For his new Plays to Please EP, Pallett transforms six previously released songs from Alex Lukashevsky and his Toronto band Deep Dark United into a Fantasia-esque big-band extravaganza.
No surprise Pallett and Lukashevsky toured together---both are kindred spirits of modern camp, dramatic lyrics and layered, complicated compositions. Backed up by the St. Kitts Orchestra, comprised of 35 members from bands such as the Hidden Cameras and Drumheller, Pallett's symphonic pop never becomes unbearably sugary, thanks to dark, forested moments that hark back to Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.
Then there's Lukashevsky's knack for writing caustic lyrics like "I Saved a Junky Once." Pallett even transforms the broken carnival-ride "Nun or a Bawd"---"Gonna get me a girlfriend and do whatever she says/Even if I feel like her manager or her passenger or her furniture"---into a pretty, lilting song worthy of a Disney princess.
This EP is too short, but should tide over fans until Pallett's concept album Heartland comes out later this year.