August 2001Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /Aug01/

  VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6256   [40:27]


John Powell’s scores to date have included: Chicken Run, Antz and the music for Shrek. He is certainly one of the most imaginative of the newcomers. Evolution, judging by the artwork for this album, is something of a comedy sci-fi, alien invasion film; as the Varèse publicity blurb puts it: "Men in Black meets Jurassic Park."

John Powell weaves an extraordinary eclectic and kaleidoscopic score that includes so many film-score stylistic references that one is bedazzled. John Williams Superman music and the scores for so many John Wayne westerns are just two of John Powell’s witty targets. The music swings from mood to mood and style to style with breathtaking speed in parallel, one imagines with the pace of the film. In fact, one just starts to enjoy a piece of atmospheric music like that for ‘The Forest’ with its shimmering leafy rustlings and swaying, twisting, turning figures when the mood is abruptly shattered and the music darts off in another direction. The same thing happens with the fanciful fandango of ‘Burgled’ All this can become too disconcerting after a while. Contrasting the normal symphony orchestra a rhythm section adds colour and variety with swing or Latin material etc. Apart from a few darkish cues towards the end of the album, an amusing and light touch is apparent throughout with much individual and welcome imaginative writing. There is some appealing romantic stuff and the military snares can turn jolly as well as pompous. If you liked Randy Newman’s score for Pleasantville you should like this one. Exhausting but appealing.

Ian Lace


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