LONDON RECORDS 4344311362
With its at times striking mixture of strings, synth, drums and reverberating
sound effects, Angelo Badalamenti has concocted a score that despite its
ultimate shortcomings, certainly cannot be accused of being predictable.
Bizarre City, all synth embellishments and pounding drums, kicks
things off before making way for the very different approach of The
Beach Theme (Swim to Island) featuring traditional strings, piano and
some restrained choral work. This is a lush, old-fashioned romantic melody,
although it does switch mid-way into ominous synth and rhythm, before finally
returning to the tinkling, syrupy main theme.
This gushy ultra romanticism is nothing new for Badalamenti and has been
evident in past projects such as Twin Peaks. Although some may
find it appealing, in this particular case I found it hard to take very
seriously. Its so overtly schmaltzy that it becomes almost like a parody.
If that was the intent then it was very successful, but if not, it really
is a quite nauseating.
These first two pieces sum up quite succinctly the main styles used throughout
the score, with on the one hand The Beach Theme dominating tracks
like Starnight, Mythical Waters and Waterfall
Cascade, while strong synthesizer and rhythmic work highlights cues
such as Vision of Fantasy and Killing Fields. This
latter piece is actually one of the most effective on offer with the imposing
drum work really getting the adrenaline pumping, augmented mid-way through
by a simple but powerful ascending four-note motif.
Probably the best of the string based pieces is Mournful Myth
which also incorporates some more subtle vocal work and really is as mournful
as the title suggests and all the better for it! Another of the stronger
pieces, Pure Victims, employs strings and brass in a powerful,
disturbing cue with additional rumbling sound effects, that eventually trails
away into low-key foreboding.
Its a pity really that the highs do not outweigh the lows, because
this does undoubtedly have its moments. But inevitably the cloying main theme
undermines the entire score and Im left with the distinct impression
that Angelo Badalamentis dark side is far more interesting than his
sweetness and light.