A welcome opportunity (previously only available as a Japanese import) to hear John Barry's score for the relatively obscure 1993 production Ruby Cairo (AKA: Deception).
The 'Ruby Cairo Theme - Flamenco' begins with low-key classical guitar (performed by Ottmar Liebert and Luna Hegar), with the titular Flamenco coming in mid-way through to liven things up and while this is pleasant enough, the actual melody is very middling, almost like a second string 'All Time High' from Octopussy. This motif continues through 'Opening Theme' in a subtle, atmospheric version that is very typical of Barry for this period and this central theme is heard in many other incarnations on, among others; 'Cairo, Kentucky', a fuller orchestral version with latter suspense elements, 'Berlin Fashion', in a waltz-like rendition, 'The Last Time', a restrained variation, becoming darker as it progresses and 'The Secrets of My Heart', a moderate pop ballad, sung by Kristina Nicchols (with lyrics by director Graeme Clifford and Cynthia Haagens).
Elsewhere those characteristic Barry strings with undercurrents of unease do their usual thing on 'Banco De Cortez' etc., but it's all very familiar, although pure suspense cues like 'Varacruz Encounter' (rather Bond-like at times, but then doesn't everything Barry composes inevitably have these moments!?) and the tense 'Come, We Must Hurry' backed by a quasi tribal rhythm, sound a good deal brighter. Other tracks in the same mode stand up quite well too with 'What Do You Want From Me?' and 'Carnival Chase' generating a fair amount of taut intrigue. Best of all is 'Discovery', a mixture of romanticism and danger, a telling combination that Barry specialises in.
If one wanted to be critical of this work, it would be reasonable enough to comment that much of this score is very similar in stylistic terms to many other John Barry soundtracks. All of the trademarks are there, the lush strings, the imposing brass, the edgy piano. But if you like this composer and I most certainly do, there is a reliable quota of pleasing moments, all presented with the expected polish, even though I would have to concede that the central theme is somewhat over used.
Likeable enough, even if it does have a distinctly familiar ring overall.