31 October 2009

CD Review: New Moon Soundtrack, Various Artists

Various Artists

New Moon Soundtrack


The Twilight craze has come with some questionable developments in pop culture: Team Edward T-shirts, the resurrection of Teen Wolf, vampire baseball. But whether you're a hater who pines for the days when vampires weren't mild-mannered high-school stalkers or a Twi-hard who's pledged to name her first child (preferably with Robert Pattison) "Renesmee," there's one thing you can't argue with: Those bloodsuckers have excellent taste in music.

Or, to be more accurate, music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas does. As she's done with her other high-profile credits (The O.C., Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy), for the New Moon soundtrack, she's assembled 15 songs by bands either revered in the indie-rock pantheon (Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Death Cab For Cutie) or on their way there (Lykke Li, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver & St. Vincent). And they're all exclusive to New Moon (in case the Pitchfork crowd needed to be wooed over to the sparkly side).

Even on the off-chance the typical Twilight fan's tastes skew more toward the modern alt-rock of the mega-selling Twilight soundtrack (see Paramore's Decode, the last soundtrack's lead single), they'll likely be swayed by the indie-folk beauty of New Moon. For one, it's true to - if not an improvement on - the source material.

New Moon, as per author Stephenie Meyer, is all "about losing true love," and, whether or not the participating artists have bothered slogging through the book (we're looking at you, Death Cab), they're a stickler to the theme. This one's a 15-song dispatch from the pits of I-just-got-dumped-by-my-vampire-boyfriend despair.

Among the highlights: Thom Yorke's Hearing Damage is a sort of sensory deprivation tank for the angst-ridden. It's an atmospheric affair, featuring echo-wrapped vocals and a humming haze of electronic blips. Bon Iver and St. Vincent team up for Roslyn, an eerie and echoing acoustic folksong, made all the more haunting by the seamless blending of St. Vincent's high, fairy-princess vocals and the falsetto tones of Bon Iver's own pipes. Lykke Li's minimalistic Possibility is one of the more gripping mope-outs on the disc. The Swedish pop singer coos in a cracked-with-emotion whisper, accompanied by a barely-there piano, as she pines for a lover.

Band of Skulls get an honourable mention for injecting a bit of rock ‘n' roll badass-ery on the glam-rocker Friends. But it's Muse who offers the one moment of unabashed rock on the disc. Their remix of I Belong to You is a slap-happy mix of their usual Queen-esque bombast with some gothic piano- and clarinet-supplied whimsy right out of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Forget Team Edward - can we be on Team New Moon Soundtrack?

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/arts/story.html?id=2121015#ixzz0VTHD9OII
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