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"Nice score, great songs, shame about the dialogue. Is it too cynical to suggest that soundtrack CDs which include dialogue excerpts into the music are more about advertising than entertainment? Iím not against the idea in principle, but it rarely seems to be done effectively.

An occasional grab of dialogue as segue to cue or song can add a worthy dimension Ė the paradoxically poignant and hilarious snippet that opens this CD, for instance, is delightful. But of course they couldnít let it rest there, and the remainder merely serve to interrupt what is a rather fabulous soundtrack of string-rich score and sprightly songs.

The latter including Sunshine At Last by Koot, a UK band with a Mississippi soul sound that should be obligatory listening for young grungers not yet attuned to the fact that attitude is so much the mightier when combined with musical flair.

Thereís a percussion-heavy mix of The Pretenderís Human, which adds a contemporary flavour to a classic piece of pop. And for those of you who thought Chris Isaak invented that smouldering blues feel Ė you Bad Bad Things Ė time to get your ears wide open; itís been around as long as The Spirit In The Sky.

Most interesting is the Robert Palmer rendition of Witchcraft. Sounding a tad like Sting (when he, occasionally, deigns to sing in his lower, more natural tessitura), Palmer comes across, as Sting does, as a fine musician with a pleasant tone rather than a truly fine singer. Itís perfect for their own stuff, but dangerous for standards. Nevertheless, while it goes without saying that Palmer canít give Witchcraft the Old Blue Eyeís magic, the arrangement is simply irresistible.

Mark Russellís fabulous score is compromised here and there by the more excessive insertions of dialogue, particularly in a cue like Cornwall Chase which really picks up the pace in the second half with scampering blues guitar and fiddles, over a driving rhythm section. When the music is given a free range, its combination of the pretty and percussive provides plenty of entertainment value.

Although some waffling piano and concertina ambience struggles to startle at times, this is more than made up for by the pleasing array of melodic, if straightforward, violin themes.

Overall, a top-notch soundtrack. And even the dialogue has novelty value the first time round. Though Iíll warrant it will annoy you on multiple listens."
Brad Green

Publication date: November 2, 2000

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TITLE: Saving Grace

ID: 8573830952

SCORE: Mark Russell

FEATURED ARTISTS: Filter, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Norman Greenbaum, Koot, Pretenders, Plenty, AFT, Sherena Dugani, Robert Palmer

ALBUM PRODUCER: Greg Rogers, Ray Williams


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