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Sunday, February 07, 2010


Music by Joseph LoDuca
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1120 (US)
35 Tracks 72:56 mins

The TNT TV show Leverage is now into its third series, but has yet to be picked up my UK terrestrial TV, which is disappointing, but then this is not the first time an acclaimed show has failed to get a proper UK screening, witness the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.
Leverage stars Timothy Hutton as former insurance investigator Nate Ford, who has gathered a skilled team of operatives, which includes our own Gina Bellman (Blackeyes), in order to "bring down the kind of corrupt bigwigs whose neglect led to the death of his son." It's a kind of throwback to the shows of the '60s and early '70s, where teams like the Mission: Impossible guys, the Champions, the Protectors etc. entertained audiences weekly.
Executive producer of the show is Dean Devlin, whose composer of choice these days is Joseph LoDuca, the pair having previously collaborated on the Librarian films and the miniseries The Triangle. LoDuca produces his scores from his own studio, but here calls upon the services of violinist Aaron Ashton and the Irish flutes of Chris Collins to supplement his synths and samples, though you'd swear you were listening to live players for much of the time.
Bearing in mind what I said to comparisons with shows of the '60s, LoDuca was brought up on their scores and in his notes for the colourful accompanying booklet, the composer cites the likes of Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin as influences in coming up with the fun, jazzy score for Leverage; the generous album opening with the funky "Main Title" theme, which is certainly in those traditions, as is much of what follows, featuring keyboards, brass, upright bass, and rhythm section, for a whole procession of groovy tracks, which will have your toes tapping for much of its playing time. Oftentimes, the music is stealthy as the capers unwind; at others more full-on, like the brash "Viva Vegas;" and still others, light and comedic. But there's also room for introspection and sentiment, with tracks like "Nate Comes Clean;" the Irish fiddle of "Madame Administration;" and the old-world waltz "Father Daughter Dance."
In the traditions of Gerald Fried, on the Man From U.N.C.L.E. shows, LoDuca also provides local colour for tracks like "Mubai International" and "Rattlin Pots and Pans;" with the piece of toe-tapping "Wanna Bet," and the gentle guitar and fiddle of "Metamora" and "All My Decembers" offering both Celtic and Americana flavouring.
As the album proceeds there are a few more contemporary sounding cues like"Nate Gives Himself Up," with its triumphant ending; the percussive "Tank Fight," with its wailing electric guitars; and the fast-moving "Diamond Heist." Fortunately, there aren't enough of them to spoil things. Not having seen any of the three series, and being basically clueless, I just worry that this is the direction the music is taking latterly. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the contemporary stuff, it just doesn't fit with the fun and grooviness of the rest of the scoring.
Supplementing the score are a "drunken Irish rage/electric folk tune," based on "Drunken Sailor," which is given a very uptempo performance, with both music and lyrics by LoDuca, who admits that he doesn't consider himself a lyricist, but he does a more than adequate job of it here; and the song that acts as kind of a running love theme for two of the characters in season two, "Not Sure Yet," written and performed by Andy Lange, who acts as assistant dub mixer on the show, but who is also obviously a talented songsmith.
If you long for a time when large orchestras weren't the norm, but when composers had to use all their ingenuity to come up with the goods from small combos, and when practically every thing you heard on screen had melody and rhythm, then, like me, you'll lap much of this up.
In addition to the aforementioned notes from composer LoDuca, the booklet also contains notes from "Not Sure Yet's singer/songwriter Andy Lange; Dean Devlin; co-Executive Producer and Creator John Rogers, and Director Jonathan Frakes.
Go to for samples and to order your copy.


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