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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Man from U.N.C.L.E soundtrack review: Badass Balalaika

The gist of the TMFU reviews are pretty meh. But that's just it, as a lifelong soundtrack addict (they help me write) I know I can never judge a soundtrack by it's movie. Great movies have terrible soundtracks and vice versa.

You can totally judge them separately, because composers are usually brought it in for the last couple months of production to crap something out. Except famously in Morricone's westerns, I'd say that paid off pretty well:

So while TMFU doesn't make much of an impression; it's soundtrack is a quirky, yet fiery, triumph.  It's just so shamelessly 60's. It takes everything that was huge in European pop at the time and makes it all work.

Come on, how 60's was that? But it isn't all harpsichords and bass guitars. It has time for Russian folk music, jazz flutes, and finger snaps. Daniel Pemberton has out done himself, each track is like an isolated essay. It plays more like an experimental instrumental album than cohesive theme based fare. Though it does have a heroic theme, and I love it to bits:

Pemberton couldn't have gone big, tried for a Bondian feel, but resisted. It's sad, subtle, and humble. It illustrates a work-a-day operative's life rather the glamour of Bond's gentleman spy bravado. You've also probably figured out I didn't just throw up Morricone's pocket watch theme for no good reason. Pemberton is obviously a humongous fan and mixing the spy thriller with the operatic western was a perfect choice. It's climax even uses vocals, Morricone vocals... you'll know what I mean when you hear it.

It's the best soundtrack I've heard in a good long while, so good I ended up writing about it. So good I'm recommending it to people who don't even listen to these things. Just trust me, if you avoided all those videos above, do me a favor. Hit this last one and try not to enjoy yourself.


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