With no knowledge of the film, a cursory observation that this pairs Badalamenti
with director David Lynch is likely to divide potential listeners as easily
as their films together historically have. A reputation for experimentation
and an often dark tone proceeds them, which either appeals or repels in equal
So shame on you if you're unprepared to accept a wolf in new clothing, since
that chances you missing out on what's possibly the most consistently beautiful
score of 1999.
Alvin Straight is an elderly varmint who swallows years of pride to visit
a stricken brother whom he's not spoken to for far too long. Circumstances
dictate the most humorous of modes of transport to undertake the journey
- a lawnmower. An exploration of shining morality and the nature of family
ensues. All of which elicits the most tender of scores from Badalamenti,
recalling some of the bittersweet of his own City of the Lost Children.
But in its Country Americana style, much of this album resembles the infamous
guitar strains of Stanley Myers' "Cavatina" from The Deer Hunter.
After the synth strains of "Laurens, Iowa" reminds us just how powerful sustained
melodies can be (think Twin Peaks), it is with "Rose's Theme" that
the most memorable material begins. The intimate ensemble of a couple of
guitars and strings draws you into the achingly slow world in which Alvin
travels, and simultaneously keeps warm and alive its dazzling colours. The
shots of the glowing cornfields coupled with "Alvin's Theme" are spectacular
to say the least.
It's easily the most listener-friendly collaboration from the pair, but more
than that it's a good sign that movie scan still allow for and encourage