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Thursday, April 24, 2008


Music by Joby Talbot & various artists
Lakeshore Records LKS 339142 (US)
14 Tracks 53:47 mins

For this modern fairy tale, starring Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon (who also produced) and James McAvoy, Lakeshore Records has released an album which is a combination of score and songs.
Composer Joby Talbot, whose best known film score to date is for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has produced a magical musical accompaniment, which could be described as Philip Glass meets Danny Elfman meets Michael Nyman, which is to say that the often magical elements are akin to the kind of work Elfman was producing for the likes of Edward Scissorhands some years ago, with a degree of minimalism in the music which nods towards the film work of the other two esteemed composers. Whatever, it works, and the barely 20 minutes of score presented here, has one begging for much more.
The score seclections get off to a great start with "The Story of the Curse - Parts 1 & 2," which take us through a broad range stylistically and emotionally - real fairytale stuff, often busy, occasionally menacing, sometimes boisterous, but also delicate when required. "Penelope Breaks Free" with its soaring strings is suitably uplifting, whilst "Fairground" has that music-box-like Elfman-styled touch. "The Wedding" builds quite menacingly, before taking flight - all very anguished, and ending in sad piano and flute. By complete contrast, the final score selection "The Kiss" leaves us emotionally satisfied, with its soaring strings, flowing piano and pop-styled beat.
Of the songs, the country stylings of Schuyler Fisk and Dave Bassett on "Waking Life" most appeal to me, with the remainder mainly being in the modern style of pop/rock songs in need of a decent vocalist, though Paper Moon's "String of Blinking Lights" and James Greenspun's "Your Disguise" have some appeal. There is also quite an uplifting instrumental by Wenzel Templeton & Robert Pegg, continuing the mood created in "The Kiss."
In conclusion, I've heard worse score/song mixes, but more selections from Talbot's fine score would have suited me more - but then I would say that, wouldn't I?


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