• Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: May 27, 2014
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
Buy On
  1. Magnet
    May 21, 2014
    95
    In Conflict is his masterpiece--if not the best album of 2014, certainly the most profound. [No. 109, p.59]
  2. 91
    In Conflict is ominous, gloomy, and marked with some of the most playful arrangements Pallett’s laid to date.
  3. May 27, 2014
    90
    Even at its most wounded and immediate, the cavernous "Riverbed" and the spooky yet oddly comforting "Passions," there is a rich vein of humanity that remains tapped into.
  4. 85
    On In Conflict the Canadian composer has managed to translate that energy into his recordings ,making his music as invigorating as it is soothing, as exciting as it is impressive and as complex as it is accessible.
  5. 83
    Throughout In Conflict, Pallett opens up his compositions even more than his lyrics, but the songwriting is no less brainy, and themes no less tangled, than on his earlier work.
  6. May 27, 2014
    83
    Pallett has always crafted emotionally rich songs, but he seemed on previous albums to be trying to worm his way into listeners’ heads via inventive cleverness. On In Conflict, he seems much more comfortable taking aim at the gut.
  7. Dec 18, 2014
    80
    In Conflict hits a perfect art/pop balance.
  8. Uncut
    Jun 4, 2014
    80
    In Conflict feels starkly personal. [Jul 2014, p.77]
  9. May 30, 2014
    80
    For a fairly short 50-minute album it's definitely something you can digest in one sitting without feeling overwhelmed. Nevertheless, In Conflict improves with each listen, new pieces of the puzzle falling into place, details making the picture clearer and more fascinating with each spin.
  10. May 29, 2014
    80
    His finest achievement yet.
  11. May 28, 2014
    80
    The confidently poised In Conflict exhibits both a maturation in his ever-evolving compositional style and a boldness in his now assertive vocal performances.
  12. May 27, 2014
    80
    Pallett’s vocals that move from soft quiver to full tenor on the title track. And when paired with his simple pop tendencies, the intricacies are easy to absorb. All you have to do is listen.
  13. May 27, 2014
    80
    A sustained chamber-synthpop reflection on the idea of romantic and sexual turmoil, the album is also a tangle of confessions and absolutions, artfully and bravely unresolved.
  14. May 27, 2014
    80
    Composition is just part of what makes pop music work, and the best tracks on In Conflict succeed on the arrangements and production as well as the writing.
  15. May 27, 2014
    80
    In Conflict is queer outsider art at its most fraught and compelling.
  16. May 27, 2014
    80
    It took a few listens for In Conflict to really hit, but, like a friendship that grows deeper with time, I can’t imagine not having the album around now.
  17. May 27, 2014
    80
    In Conflict might not be an autobiography the way you or I would write it, but make no mistake: the deeper you look into it, the deeper Pallett himself stares back at you.
  18. May 22, 2014
    80
    It may lack the fictional cryptic storytelling of Pallett's past work but such elements were merely peripheral to the overall picture--this is art set loose on pop with its teeth bared.
  19. Q Magazine
    May 21, 2014
    80
    In Conflict is as densely crammed with ideas and movement as his CV, an impression bolstered by the presence of the polymath's polymath Brian Eno. [Jun 2014, p.117]
  20. May 21, 2014
    80
    The record is a captivating and challenging insight into the mindset of an intelligent artist who is pushing himself further than ever before, taking his music in new and fascinating directions.
  21. May 21, 2014
    80
    Pallett’s inventive textures lend emotional weight to some of the deliberately mundane lyrical details, so the album is at once beautifully ethereal and painfully real.
  22. May 27, 2014
    75
    In Conflict doesn't find Owen Pallett breaking new ground, but that might not matter. He's still bringing his exacting ear to perfect arrangement (sometimes a little overly so), along with a unique lyrical outlook--and for the most part, In Conflict balances the two.
  23. Jun 18, 2014
    72
    The tension between revelation and ambiguity is echoed in the music, which avoids the easy, straightforward release of pop crescendos in favor of alternating textures and rhythms.
  24. May 27, 2014
    70
    In Conflict is a pop treasure that's also a stirring, personal work of art.
  25. May 21, 2014
    70
    In Conflict is an impressive record of worthy content, but the day he finds a way to reconcile his musical chops to his pop ear, then Owen Pallett will surely make his masterpiece.
  26. Mojo
    Jul 24, 2014
    60
    A little loosening up might help those serotonin levels. [Jul 2014, p.96]
  27. Jun 23, 2014
    60
    In Conflict is either one of those records which invite thoughtful criticism, with the repeated phrasings and imagery occurring throughout the record (not to mention the swooningly lush orchestrations) suggesting vast rabbit warrens in Pallett’s psyche worth considering, or render it entirely pointless, given that it seems set on creating something immaculate, and then mercilessly deconstructing its creator.
  28. May 27, 2014
    60
    Though Pallett is guilty of trying too hard to impress ("Even as a child you felt the terror of the infinite," begins Song for Five & Six), the Canadian's melodies seldom disappoint.
  29. May 21, 2014
    60
    It’s an undeniably strong album, in which existing fans will find much to love. It just isn’t quite ‘Heartland’.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. May 27, 2014
    9
    In conflict has everything I anticipated for: a pizzicato here, soul-sucking melody there (with Pallett's definitive croon as always), greatIn conflict has everything I anticipated for: a pizzicato here, soul-sucking melody there (with Pallett's definitive croon as always), great lyrics with plenty of emotion, and a beautiful production overall. There is also a great flow to album where Owen's passionate themes eventually lead to a freakishly catchy conclusion on 'Infernal Fantasy' where the marvelous percussion and Eno's steady backing vocals play out. It may not be what I expected after Heartland but this time Owen has decided to cut back on the wildly fictional (but mesmerizing) stories and has focused on something truly deep and meaningful. Full Review »
  2. Aug 8, 2014
    9
    Totally mesmerizing. I could hardly do anything else but listen to this beautiful music. Rich, layered, powerful, and ultimately captivating.Totally mesmerizing. I could hardly do anything else but listen to this beautiful music. Rich, layered, powerful, and ultimately captivating. The lyrics are also great; but to me, the music is the true star.

    Sure, there are songs that didn't reach the level of others. It's not perfect, but very close to being one. The tracks to look out for are: I Am Not Afraid, the title track, Song For Five and Six, The Sky Behind The Flag, The Riverbed, Soldier's Rock, and "→, Part 2" (instrumental).
    Full Review »
  3. May 30, 2014
    9
    Although there appears to be naught as much to elicit that locomotive elevating feeling on this album as is Lewis Takes Off His Shirt andAlthough there appears to be naught as much to elicit that locomotive elevating feeling on this album as is Lewis Takes Off His Shirt and Tryst with Mephistopheles (tryst possessing here its nonsexual connotation and denotation) from the grand and triumphant Heartland, this is indeed another success for perceptive, musical Owen and all those of us with the luck to give him a listen-to. Full Review »