Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


I managed to be lucky enough to become familiar with this soundtrack before I saw the film, and I must say that the chemistry of a great soundtrack whose songs you anticipate greatly increased my enjoyment of the movie. Wes Anderson, the film’s director and this soundtrack’s archivist, has given us a collection of “British Invasion” (they’re British, I’ll give him that) interspersed with Mark Mothersbaugh’s brilliant baroque-combo score, for a mixture that’s infectious in its contrasts as much as by the quality of the songs themselves.

On the score side, Mothersbaugh creates a dazzling mixture of bells, guitars, dulcimers and all manner of traditional instruments — even the synthesized tones sound like ye olde mooge. The music they play has a Bach-like flavor to it, bright and lively in its musical geometry. With no piece exceeding a minute and a half, each vignette is over almost before you notice its complexity.

From England, we have tracks from names like the Kinks, the Who, Cat Stevens, the Faces and John Lennon. There are also a handful of people I haven’t heard of, though I’ll admit I’m not a scholar of ’60s music. Strangely, I was not familiar with the tracks from the first set of bands, while I had already heard the songs (if not these versions) from the unknowns. Cat Stevens’ “Here Comes My Baby” and Unit 4+2’s “Concrete & Clay” are two vivid examples of the latter. A couple of tracks I could do without (including Lennon’s “Oh Yoko”), but for the most part, everything fits together into whatever twisted definition of British Invasion Anderson is using.

A couple of tracks are in danger of slipping through the cracks — Mothersbaugh’s “Snowflake Music,” here encoring an appearance from Anderson’s Bottlerocket , and Yves Montaud’s “Rue St. Vincent” — but everything hangs together well. Quite a find!

London Records, 825 Eighth Ave., 24th Floor, New York, NY 10019

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