September 2001Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /Sept01/

Bruce ROWLAND PharLap. Zeus and Roxanne OSTs PERCEPTO 004 [78:23]
(Available from Percepto Records:



Phar Lap was a reasonable success in 1983, being the story of a prize-winning Australian racehorse from the Thirties that died of a mysterious disease. Composer Rowland's response is very much a product of the time; with one of those quickly dated drum beats running under almost everything. The opening cue "California 1932" contains some nice work from guitars and flutes, and then "Phar Lap Main Theme" has piano and strings swirl around one another. But then a beat kicks up. Throughout the album this is frankly a let down. "Phar Lap Wins The Melbourne Cup" has a highly heroic theme variant - before a beat kicks in. And on it goes. One interesting tangent comes in "Agua Caliente" though, featuring military snare drums with castanets, Spanish horns and guitars!

Zeus and Roxanne is a 1997 Steve Guttenberg film about a dog bonding with a dolphin. Are you already planning a trip to the video store? The 2 scores are appropriately paired since it's the same sweet 'n' low sound - with a more contemporary lilt to the obligatory drums. Lots of shimmering harp glissandos and bell tree leave no uncertainty this is extremely kid-friendly fare. "Car Chase / Underwater Ride" has lots of comedic hijinks with xylophone running up and down the scale. Mickey-mousing is frequently the order of the day. Two standout cues for something a little different are "Zeus Arrives / Carver The Spy" with steel drums, and the 7 minute "Shark Attack / Stranded Sub / Rescue" with some spooky string figures in the early part.

Paul Tonks

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