The King's Guard
CITADEL STC 77129
Swashbuckler scores have become a rare breed indeed and few modern day composers
get an opportunity to try their hand at one. John Debney gave a credible
cutlass stab at it a few years ago with Cutthroat Island, but we
have to delve into the long distant past to find any other really significant
forays into that territory. There was a time when the skull and cross bones
was a staple of Hollywood and composers such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold
(Captain Blood (1935), The Sea Hawk (1940)) and Alfred
Newman (The Black Swan (1942)) created memorable motifs for these
high seas adventures. But nowadays it comes as something of a surprise when
a new soundtrack appears in this genre, but that's exactly what we have here
with Ray Colcord's work on The King's Guard.
Although traditionally these kind of scores have always been very much big
orchestral works, presumably because of budgetary considerations synthesiser
is employed here. Unfortunately though it's not really up to the task. The
sounds utilised are often weak and wishy-washy where they needed to have
timbre and resonance and to be truthful this particular score would have
greatly benefited from an orchestral approach.
From the fanfare of the 'Main Title' through action cues like 'The Battle',
'Chasing the Cart' and 'Donald's Fight', the synth work is rather lacking
and its attempts to ape authentic instruments often fall flat. In other places
there is a more wistful, romantic tone on tracks like 'William and Roxanne'
and 'Katie Returns' and although they make a slightly better impression,
there's still nothing that really stands out.
There's a great deal of music included here at over seventy minutes, but
very little possesses any real vitality or originality and the poor synth
work does nothing to enhance the overall effect. In the end the sheer amount
of cues wears you down with each subsequent piece sounding too similar in
style and tone.
I'm afraid there's no yo-ho-ho to be found here. Bring on the rum!