"'They needed music verging from the exotic, the erotic,
to nightclub neurotic with an undertone of love,' says Sample
People’s original score composer, Rafael May, about the
brief from the movie’s producer and director. A
stratospheric objective? Well they were certainly aiming high,
considering May forgot to mention that they also required a
cosmic dose of 70’s space-adelia to help evoke an ambience
of retro firmament fashion meets gritty, grounded urbanity.
With a mix of "Spacey Techno, Old School Hip Hop, Indian
Bollywood Pop [and] Hard Beats" – May’s own words
again – he just about delivers on all fronts. In particular,
the minimalist hyper-bright piano of Space Theme delivers a
catchy, memorable motif that’s a little low gravity but fits
the mood like a skin-tight Lurex spacesuit.
But May’s score is only a modest portion of a soundtrack
that is built around Aussie pop classics of the 70s re-worked by
an assortment of contemporary local popsters. Like a box of
Whitman’s Samplers, these are a mixed bag.
Best of the bunch are The Whitlams’ rollicking swing
rendition of Who Listens to the Radio, and the Josh
Abrahams-produced version of Russell Morris’s Sweet, Sweet
Love with Russ himself – in fine voice as ever –
reprising the vocal. Another Morris classic, The Real Thing, also
gets the Abrahams treatment, with Russ graciously giving up the
mic on this one to multiple Kylie Minogues. The multi-tracking
might provide the oomph, but the petite popstress delivers an
effervescent performance that suggests she’s come a long way
towards earning a Real Thing epithet herself.
Less successful are a soggy Custard performance of Howzat, on
which they’re caught out by their limited vocal harmonies; a
lamely metronomic arrangement of INXS’s Don’t Change;
and a vibrant recording of Alone With You by The Superjesus that
might have been great, but fails because it’s clearly been
mixed by the guitarist’s mother.
Still, the concept is appealing and the overall entertainment
value high. I can’t fault the choice of songs, and while
novelty over quality seems to have influenced the choice of
artists, it could have been a lot worse – thank goodness
Bardot weren’t around."