Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Informant!
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Silva Screen SILCD1298
14 Tracks 36:24 mins

No, you're not dreaming, after an absence of more than a decade, Marvin Hamlisch returns to the film scoring stage with his retro-styled music for Steven Soderbergh's new comedy thriller The Informant!, based on the book by Kurt Eichenwald and starring an almost unrecognisable Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, the highest ranked corporate whistleblower in US legal history.
Hamlisch was a great favourite of mine in the '70s, when the film music bug first bit me. I think I first heard his music on the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and, although many were quick to condemn his work on that movie, it still remains my favourite non-John Barry Bond score up until David Arnold came on board. And I just loved the song, "Nobody Does It Better," one of many classics he wrote at the time, including "Through the Eyes of Love," "The Last Time I Felt Like This," and who could forget "The Way We Were." Hamlisch made frequent TV appearances at the time and I loved to see how he could make a song out of virtually anything the audience threw at him. But he also wrote damn fine film music as well, including his scores for "The Swimmer" and "Sophie's Choice." So, this is a very welcome return, as far as I'm concerned.
For Soderbergh's film, Hamlisch not only provided the score, but also collaborated with the great lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman on the song "Trust Me," which features as the penultimate track on the album and is also given an instrumental treatment earlier on and a piano solo to finish.
The album gets underway however with the title track, which is a mix of light and dark, ominous rumblings giving way to an attractive, expressive piano-lead theme, with a hint of loneliness about it. The breezy toe-tapper "Meet Mark" follows; the pace changing to jazzy '60s-styled spy music for "Car Meeting." "The Raid" is an easy-going, quirky little number; the mood continuing in the loungy "Multi-Tasking," complete with Hammond organ, though the spy music returns to finish the track. By complete contrast, we have a country fiddle-lead hoedown in "Polygraph."
"Boxes" reprises the main theme at its loneliest, before the spy music returns to open "After Car," the mood however is not sustained as the breezy "Meet Mark" theme returns, embellished by whistler.
Next up is the aforementioned instrumental of "Trust Me," initially featuring solo piano, presumably played by the composer himself, but is then given a smoky jazz treatment.
"Sellout" sees the spy theme return, initially in a Latin-styled arrangement, but then given its dramatic head. "Triplets" again features the main theme, this time more optimistically, and is followed by jazzy action in "Golf." Steve Tyrell then sings "Trust Me," which proves to be another fine entry in the Hamlisch/Bergmans catalogues, a swinging jazz number of the old school; this highly entertaining album concluding with the solo piano treatment of the song.
Released on CD and for download by Silva Screen Records in the UK on 26th October, go to!.aspx for more details and to secure your copy. And please, Marvin, don't leave it so long next time!


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