Sharps and Flats: Soundtrack to "The Saint"

By Hans Eisenbeis

Published July 2, 1997 7:00PM (EDT)

don't let the few geezers thrown in for good measure fool you -- this record is a bald attempt not only to promote a movie, but to hard-sell electronica. Just when you thought you'd heard enough about the next big thing, right? Still, we all know nothing's truly big until Hollywood gets hold of it and swings it by the tail till it's dead. Of course, the key in these post-Nirvana times is to separate the hype from the hope. And you just gotta love some of the offerings on this exception that proves the rule, the one that says soundtracks are generally as unremarkable as the movies they cross-market.

Orbital's "The Saint Theme" alone is worth the price of admission and the CD combined. Phil and Paul Hartnoll have the chops and the record collection for all the crunch-rock cred of their overexposed peers, the Chemical Brothers. Despite the fact that they're sounding cleaner than Walter ("Switched On Bach") Carlos these days, Orbital's instinct for chest-palpitating power is straight out of the dictionary's entry for "hard-core punk." If Orbital's not a big enough brand name for you, fear not; the Chems themselves are here too, weighing in (somewhat predictably) with their now-seminal crossover hit "Setting Sun." Moby, Fluke and Underworld insure that the balance of this disk is given over to the millennial delights of edgy electronica.

Then there are the geezers sneaking into the rave, looking kinda funny in the rented duds. Duran Duran makes an underwhelming return with "Out of My Mind" and David Bowie tosses off his version of a different movie altogether, "Dead Man Walking." Add a couple negligible gestures by second-string bands (Everything But the Girl, Luscious Jackson) and weak cuts by otherwise promising new acts (Daft Punk, Sneaker Pimps) and you realize there's only so much super-sexy electronica to go around. The real question is why it's taken so long, in a world where artificial flavors and cybersex are undoubtedly better than the real thing, to synthesize the fist-pumping, ass-shaking power of rock 'n' roll in such a limited run? Anyway, here's proof of the concept, if you insist on such formalities.

Hans Eisenbeis

Hans Eisenbeis is the editor of Request Line magazine.

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