Jazz is by no means a new sound for Young. He set a great precedent very
early with The Telephone. More recently there was the beautiful style of
Norma Jean & Marilyn, and the insanity of The Man Who Knew Too Little.
With them all though was a very modernistic feel to the jazz elements. With
Rounders it mostly seems as if taken straight from a '70s thriller. The jazz
band combo is made up with some great kitsch appeal.
With the title opening cue we're straight into the main sound of the disc
with brushed cymbals, electronic piano and double bass. This funkiness re-appears
many times, most noticeably in "Alligator Blood" (terrific shrill horn crescendo
too), "Belly Buster", and "High Society". Variations on the jazz mood come
with a sax for "Brass Brazilians", where the horns add to the fun too. In
"Tapioca", the sax gets to breathe a sexy duet with the double bass.
The other main sound of the album is what I hesitate in labelling an almost
stereotypical spy music. Chap in a tux tiptoeing around a chateau type of
thing. First appearance is in "The Catch", and repeats for "Ode To Johnny
Chan" and "Finger Up Your Spine". It's very tongue in cheek, as was The Man
Who Knew Too Little, but very atmospheric. Which leads into the lesser number
of more traditional soundtrack orchestral cues which are likewise full of
atmosphere. Be that of suspense or poignancy.
"Lady in Black" is a piano and strings lament, while "Glowing Glimmer" progresses
the sound towards a hint of danger from some late muted horns. "The Apple"
seems to be nothing but strings and is a particularly sensitive highlight.
A couple more funky jazz reprises and then the album ends all too suddenly.
Which is really all I can fault the CD for. A very safe party background
mood setter, but not really your average poker session accompaniment - in
real life anyway !