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Sunday, January 25, 2009


Well, it took a day or two longer than I anticipated, but here (finally) is my latest of what I hope will be a whole bunch of reviews coming during the coming week:-

The Spirit
Music by David Newman
Silva Screen Records SILCD1283 (UK)
18 Tracks 47:06 mins

Having previously collaborated with Robert Rodriguez on bringing his own graphic novel characters to the silver screen in Sin City, Frank Miller has now gone solo to direct his adaptation of the late Will Eisner's The Spirit, starring the relatively unknown Gabriel Macht as the born-again indestructible hero, with a great supporting cast of Samuel L. Jackson (as chief villain The Octopus), Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson, with Miller even finding himself a part. The film is made in a similar style to Sin City and is currently in cinemas, where it is getting favourable reviews.
It's great to see David Newman (son of the great Alfred, of course) being given the music composing chores. Unfortunately, he has become somewhat typecast in Hollywood comedies though, don't get me wrong, he is quite masterful at scoring them, but also unfailingly delivers when he rarely gets the opportunity to tackle something more serious, like Serenity and another comic book hero film The Phantom. Here, he has written a good, old-fashioned leitmotif-style Hollywood orchestral score (enhanced by electronics and choir, as is often the norm these days), with each character being given their own distinct theme, which then interact throughout the subsequent score. There's the propulsive, heroic and rhythmic theme for The Spirit himself, which is often introduced by a somewhat Morriconesque harmonica; a dangerous percussive theme for Jackson's Octopus; and no less than four different themes for the female characters of the film: Lorelei (Jaime King) gets a haunting female vocal solo; Silken Floss (Johansson) a sultry piece of saxophone-lead jazz; Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega) a hypnotic woodwind-lead kind of bolero; and Sand Saref (Mendes) a piece of pure film noirish jazz. There's also a poignant piano-lead "lost-love" theme. Along the way there's plenty of dark intrigue and of course some exciting action moments.
The penultimate track "Spirit Kisses Sand" lets go in a rare moment of unrestrained romance, though this is soon squashed, with the lonely harmonica returning to introduce the final "It's You I Love/She is My City," which hints at some of the aforementioned themes, before variations on the main theme wrap up proceedings.
Rather than a booklet to accompany the disc, there is a colourful foldout, with full music credits and some original Frank Miller artwork.
The album is released on 2nd February and can be ordered from


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