Thursday, August 14, 2014

God Help The Girl: Original Sound Track (album review)

It's been five years since Stuart Murdoch released the God Help The Girl album.  Now the Belle & Sebastian mastermind finally has a release date for the film (September 5th) that he wrote and directed, and thus he's releasing the God Help The Girl: Original Soundtrack (out September 2nd).

This record is a combination of cast recordings, dialogue, and score from the movie.  It features three brand new Murdoch compositions, as well as reworkings of songs from that 2009 album and Belle & Sebastian tunes.

The score and dialogue set the tone.  They are pleasant and, at times, moody.  They aren't particularly noteworthy, because quite frankly, other than John Williams there are few people who can pen a movie score that can stand up as a brilliant work in it's own right.

It's when we get into the songs that the album hits it's stride.  The B & S track "Act of The Apostles" has been turned into a full-on Broadway musical number. The title track contrasts the sweetness of '60s girl pop with some darker lyrics.  Horn flourishes lend an air of exhilaration to "A Loving Kind of Boy".  "I'm Not Rich" is a sort of Scottish twee/soul/Trip Hop hybrid that works far better than one would imagine.

The soundtrack's standout is one of the new compositions "I Dumped You First".  Clocking in at just over a minute and a half, it packs a lot of handclaps and shouted back-up vocals that make it absolutely irresistible.

What the soundtrack does exceptionally well is tell the story of the film.  By splicing in the score and dialogue, Murdoch really relates the narrative without having to rely on the visuals.

There are some real gems on the record.  However, you have to wade through 28 tracks to get the few nuggets of joy.  Unless you love the idea of a rock opera concept album you probably just want to grab the handful of songs that are new or refreshed.

Best tracks: "I Dumped You First", "I'm Not Rich"


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