DVD Round-up: TV/Film soundtracks
- Brian Donaldson
- 16 October 2009
Cool just doesn’t quite do the job of summarising the compilation of theme tunes and incidental bits from the Incorporated Television Company’s archive. Even if you’ve never seen the likes of Danger Man, The Saint or Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) – the original not the lame Vic’n’Bob rehash – you can’t help but wish you were back in the heart of the Swinging 60s when passive smoking and lurid misogyny was all the rage. With the Best of ITC (Network ●●●) you can either take in all the blaring horns and soar away strings in a wholly un-postmodern way or reflect bitterly on how some of these tunes have become bastardised by the broadcasting likes of Mark & Lard and Chris Evans.
If painfully cool nutshells the ITC sound, then bruisingly eclectic is likely the best description to hand for Fantastic Mr Fox (Abkco Records ●●●●). As Wes Anderson becomes the latest director to dip into the Roald Dahl back catalogue, he does so with a jam-packed sonic backdrop provided by the likes of Burl Ives, Art Tatum and Jarvis Cocker, while surely nabbing the soundtrack tune title of the year: ‘Just Another Dead Rat in a Garbage Pail (Behind a Chinese Restaurant)’. Funny People (Concord Records ●●●●) doesn’t match Fox for variety, instead plumping for a folk-rock finish but evens up the score on the quality factor with McCartney, Wilco, Lennon and Coconut Records featuring strongly.
Burdened with the knowledge that Spike Jonze has got his directorial mitts on Maurice Sendak’s classic tale of anger management and yellow-eyed solitude, you fear that the soundtrack by Karen O and The Kids might be as overblown and wonky as you fear the film might be. Fortunately, Where the Wild Things Are (Polydor ●●●) manages to breathe hope into the venture with sensitive balladeering pitched somewhere between The Breeders and Patti Smith. It all falls apart when Ms O unleashes her melody-unfriendly kids choir for moments that will undoubtedly work beautifully for big screen displays of island anarchy but when intended for your ears only provide actual bodily harm. Somewhat more soothing, but no less scary, is Life on Earth (Trunk Records ●●●), a selection of offerings from the 1979 series which did for frogs and flatworms what the ITC archive achieved for dandy crimefighters. As this compilation suggests, it wasn’t just the daleks who had that era’s telly watchers diving for cover.