Think Stereo Llamas or High Lab. Think mannered lush cuteness or an undying reverence to the musical kitsch, to shakers and flugelhorns, to slow plodding melancholy and lush little strings. Think about the creative forces responsible for Stereolab and High Llamas respectively, two men whose musical tastes and identities are so similar, so much on the same trip that they are virtually musical doppelgangers. They’ve worked together repeatedly, guesting or producing each others work, even actually playing together on 1996′ Turn On.
But here they are in a role they were born for, scoring a French comedy. They’ve actually been asked to tap into a well that they were already mining pretty heavily, that of European film composers, your Morricones, Nino Rota, Francois de Robaix. And over the course of two CDs and 40 odd musical cues they do it well. As expected they have a very good understanding of the nature of film music, repeatedly reinterpreting the same cues with different instrumentation or altering the tempo or pitch to create a totally different emotional reaction to the piece. The links to their day jobs are all too apparent, suggesting that this project wasn’ necessarily a huge musical stretch for either of them. Yet this shouldn’ dissuade you from taking a listen. On the contrary. No one does music like this with such quirky confidence, effortlessly creating a musical balance between reverence and innovation.
Bob Baker Fish