Thursday, November 10, 2016

New music reviews: Catching up on movie music and then some

Several of filmdom's most famed composers are featured on must-hear soundtracks. On a related thematic note, Ireland's Two Door Cinema Club is back with their third album, and a greatest hits collection honoring '60s hit makers the Searchers is worth discovering.

Composer: Danny Elfman
Title: The Girl on the Train - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony Classical)
You might like if you enjoy: Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer
Tell me more: Danny Elfman's soundtrack for the film The Girl On The Train is never less than captivating, and there is an adventuresome quality that builds across the 23-track score. The moody piano-centered "Riding the Train" is riveting in its quiet, while there is a swirling industrial quality to the aptly-titled pieces "Something's Not Right" and "Uncertainty." Minimalism is used ("Rachel," "Day One") with as much brilliance as periodic string section-weighted symphonics (""Megan," "Resolution") and electronica ("Women," "Missing Time," "I'm Sorry"). T.J. Lindgren's piano playing is a highlight across the score. Information:

Composer: Hans Zimmer
Title: Inferno - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony Classical)
You might like if you enjoy: Hans Zimmer, Steve Mazarin, Moby
Tell me more: Listening to composer Hans Zimmer's original motion picture soundtrack for Inferno is not for the faint of heart. Those seeking sweeping romantic soundscapes best go elsewhere. There are beautiful passages here (such as during the opening and closing of "Venice"), but the over-arching spirit across the 17-track score is of tension, darkness and pulsating electronics (just get a listen to "The Cistern"). Little surprise, however, that Zimmer is such a gifted composer he makes sure even the most tense passages lure in the discerning listener. "Vayentha" is awash in a mix of jarring sound effects and musical shadings that build dramatically before a gentle Moby-like electronica groove emerges. "Doing Nothing Terrifies Me" is aptly dubbed, the lower reaches of the orchestra and electronic synths colliding in an exciting brew adorned by unhurried notes played on a keyboard. The most beautiful music on the soundtrack comes late, during the piano-meets-orchestral path of "Elizabeth" and symphony-and-choral explosion "Life Must Have Its Mysteries," each of which grow ever more beautiful along their respective ever-evolving runs.  Information:

Artist: Two Door Cinema Club
Title: Gameshow (Glassnote Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Strokes, Duran Duran, Prince
Tell me more: It has been four years since the release of Northern Irish troupe Two Door Cinema Club's incredible sophomore effort Beacon. That album, like the band's 2010 debut Tourist History, was a snappy indie rock-styled affair filled with rapid-fire guitar lines and infectious choruses to match. Two Door Cinema Club's highly-anticipated third album Gameshow delivers that sound on the inviting lead-off track "Are We Ready (Wreck)" and nowhere else. The majority of tracks on the disc recall the dance pop and electro funk of the '80s (think Chic or Prince) as well as recent dance-minded discs from Duran Duran and Neon Trees. Despite TDCC's seemingly dramatic departure, there is plenty to celebrate on this terrific return. The title track is a swirling and driving synth pop delight; "Fever" is a lush and intoxicating dance floor foray featuring Alex Trimble's falsetto vocals and a propulsive bass line. "Invincible" is a lovely neo-soul ballad likewise carved out of the '80s pop era, with little or no guitar until Sam Halliday comes in with a big solo for the track's finale. Fans of sophisticated pop (notably David Bowie and Prince) will love the lush "Good Morning," featuring an undeniable groove and artistic touches. Two Door Cinema Club is scheduled to perform at the Shrine Auditorium on Nov. 30, and at Harrah's Resort Southern California in Valley Center, CA on Dec. 3, 2016. Information:

Artist: The Searchers
Title: The Very Best of the Searchers (Varese Sarabande)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, the Turtles
Tell me more: The Beatles were not the only great band to emerge out of Liverpool in the early 1960s. The Searchers, a quartet whose roots extended back to 1959, scored a number of timeless hits in the early and mid-1960s. Now beloved hits such as the group's "Needles & Pins" and "Love Potion Number Nine" are gathered on The Very Best of the Searchers. Many of the band's early singles were covers of American hits, including "Sweets for my Sweet," "Sugar and Spice" and "When You Walk in the Room," with the Searchers layering their distinctive vocal harmonies on arrangements to make the songs their own. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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