"Nice score, great songs, shame about the dialogue. Is it too cynical to suggest
that soundtrack CDs which include dialogue excerpts into the music are more
about advertising than entertainment? Iím not against the idea in principle, but it
rarely seems to be done effectively.
An occasional grab of dialogue as segue to cue or song can add a worthy dimension
Ė the paradoxically poignant and hilarious snippet that opens this CD, for instance,
is delightful. But of course they couldnít let it rest there, and the remainder
merely serve to interrupt what is a rather fabulous soundtrack of string-rich score and
The latter including Sunshine At Last by Koot, a UK band with a Mississippi soul sound
that should be obligatory listening for young grungers not yet attuned to the fact that
attitude is so much the mightier when combined with musical flair.
Thereís a percussion-heavy mix of The Pretenderís Human, which adds a
contemporary flavour to a classic piece of pop. And for those of you who thought Chris
Isaak invented that smouldering blues feel Ė you Bad Bad Things Ė time to get
your ears wide open; itís been around as long as The Spirit In The Sky.
Most interesting is the Robert Palmer rendition of Witchcraft. Sounding a tad like
Sting (when he, occasionally, deigns to sing in his lower, more natural tessitura), Palmer
comes across, as Sting does, as a fine musician with a pleasant tone rather than a truly
fine singer. Itís perfect for their own stuff, but dangerous for standards.
Nevertheless, while it goes without saying that Palmer canít give Witchcraft the Old
Blue Eyeís magic, the arrangement is simply irresistible.
Mark Russellís fabulous score is compromised here and there by the more excessive
insertions of dialogue, particularly in a cue like Cornwall Chase which really picks up
the pace in the second half with scampering blues guitar and fiddles, over a driving
rhythm section. When the music is given a free range, its combination of the pretty and
percussive provides plenty of entertainment value.
Although some waffling piano and concertina ambience struggles to startle at times,
this is more than made up for by the pleasing array of melodic, if straightforward, violin
Overall, a top-notch soundtrack. And even the dialogue has novelty value the first time
round. Though Iíll warrant it will annoy you on multiple listens."
Publication date: November 2, 2000