Coinciding with the release of the new Thunderbirds feature film here is a second volume of music taken from Gerry Anderson's renowned 1960's puppet series.
After the memorable 'Main Titles' the first new piece is 'Danger at Deep Ocean', a combination of lush romanticism and typical Gray suspense work, and while the sleeve notes tell us that the central theme here was actually originally written for Stingray, as you might expect it fits in perfectly well and makes for a solid opening. Elsewhere, 'Spoke City Jazz' is just as the title suggests and the same applies to 'Easy Listening Radio Music'. How much value these pieces have in musical terms is debatable but for connoisseurs they will no doubt provide some entertainment.
In many other places familiar motifs are revisited as in 'Taking a Desperate Chance' and although there are several new themes that pop up here and there ('Penelope in France', 'San Martino', 'New York City' etc.) I'm not entirely sure these alone justified a second volume. 'Thunderbirds to the Rescue' for instance is simply an alternate arrangement on the main theme and much of what's featured is quite similar to the material that appeared on the first CD. The best of it however, like the rollicking 'Century 21 March' and the humorous 'The Duchess', are well worth your time.
It's interesting to listen to music from the original series just as the new incarnation, both cinematically and musically, is doing the rounds. Despite the fact that for the most part the best of Barry Gray's Thunderbirds music was included on the first volume, it still stands head and shoulders above Hans Zimmer's score for the new movie. Gray's work possesses a simplicity of spirit that perhaps reflects both the innocence and the thrill of childhood for those of us who grew up watching Thunderbirds, something that the movie score quite blatantly lacks.
This one is really for the fans. Unlike the first volume where the uninitiated could discover the Barry Gray 'sound' and enter into the quirky world of Supermarionation, this second instalment will probably not find a place in the neutral's CD collection as too much of it treads a similar path. Thunderbirds aficionados on the other hand will snap it up and very good luck to them. I for one would not begrudge anyone the opportunity of hearing more music from this underrated, one-of-a-kind composer.