Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
The Road


4.5
superb

Review

by Brandon E.L. Magnuson USER (4 Reviews)
January 9th, 2010 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Road Soundtrack takes its place beside Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Lustmord in creating a perfect soundtrack for the apocalypse.

Literature and the arts have always been great interests of mine, but ironically I have never really enjoyed reading fictional. Never really have I found it to be more of a chore, entwined in the uncreative dullness of the school system. I mean, I’ve understood why people enjoy fictional reading, but to see it in an emotionally powerful light is something I could never do. That was until I read Cormac McCarthy’s ingenious epic, The Road. What I found so brilliant about McCarthy’s masterpiece was how it was basically written in poetry; very little specifics were given, from names to dates everything was left out, focusing almost completely on the imagery to encapsulate the reader’s imagination. The plot was slow moving, almost frigid, embodying a trait that is very undervalued and almost lost in today’s mainstream culture; restraint.

Coming into the movie I was quite ready to be disappointed. Not only because I was close to certain that it wouldn’t top what was and is my favourite book, but with the commercial hype and advertising surrounding it, I was afraid they would go all “Hollywood” with it, taking away the stunning subtlety that made the book the masterpiece that it was. But after shedding many tears and seeing some of the best cinematography that has ever graced my eyes, I can say that my early assumptions were incredibly false. Although they added some much needed dialogue and more of a storyline, director John Hillcoat and writer Joe Penhall managed to keep the atmospheric magic of the book alive. Though everything else in the movie was nearly perfect, from the acting, to the dialogue, there are two main aspects of the movie that blew me away; one being the cinematography, stated before, and the other being the score, which takes us to the subject in question. The Road Soundtrack.

With a movie like this, driven by atmosphere with little dialogue, it is pretty easy to say whether you are going to enjoy the soundtrack or not, and assuming you read the soundtrack above, my opinion going into this is quite clear. Within the movie the score fit perfectly, Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, seem to create a near perfect sound for The Road, with subtlety and grace and the every now and then dark percussion lead attack. What impressed me most about the score was how Cave and Ellis managed to hone the restraint that made the book so gorgeous, without going the normal route of a full blown orchestra which, in this case, would not fit the film.

We have established that the score brilliantly fits the movie, but what makes the Fountain and 28 Days Later soundtracks so remarkable is their ability to stay not only musically relevant, but emotionally powerful even without the movie, for the soundtrack to stand on its own as a glorious piece of art, rather than just memorabilia for those who loved the movie. Usually mainly just piano, violin, loops, some wind instruments and a fury of percussion every so often, Warren Ellis and Nick Cave manage to do just that, making a score that stands out on its own as a brilliant piece of art. The piano is delicate the violin sways upon the line of eerie and beautiful, creating a dreary, midnight atmosphere, that would fit perfectly as the soundtrack of a man and a boy walking through a post apocalyptic wasteland. Though in the beautiful minimalist works there are scenes of horror. Tracks like “The Cannibals” and “the Cellar” incorporate the thrill of the Road, with cryptic noises and powerfully pounding percussion, without distracting from the overall adventure that the soundtrack is and the rare feeling of “togetherness” that it contains.

Minimalist but epic, dark but glorious, dreary but organic the soundtrack to the Road conveys exactly what the film presented; a glimmering hope in complete turmoil. Not only that but it could possibly the best work from both of the artists involved, referring to their work with The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Cave’s award winning score to The Proposition, Ellis’ band Dirty Three, and whatever else they have been a part of. The Road soundtrack completes maybe one of the decade’s most prevailing trilogies, while standing on its own as a modern classical masterpiece, taking its place beside Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Lustmord as creating a perfect soundtrack for the apocalypse.


user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
YouAreMySilence
January 9th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

First review of the new year, woo..

Ponton
Emeritus
January 9th 2010


5815 Comments


I read this book a few weeks back - I enjoyed it, but I was a little disappointed. This is a great review, and I am very interested, especially given the albums you recommended. Pos.

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

Relinquished
January 9th 2010


25525 Comments


apocalyptic and Dirty Three? I'm sold.

I've also been reading the book recently, good so far.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 9th 2010


4461 Comments


yeah the book is awesome, even though it has some flaws in the story, but some of the language is beautiful. Going to see this movie soon, it just came to my city.

TheEnforcer
January 9th 2010


270 Comments


Good review, nice way to start off the year. pos

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 9th 2010


7404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice review. i just listened to this and its not really my thing but i can see thats its good for what it is, so i gave it a 3

YouAreMySilence
January 9th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for the positive feedback.

I'm surprised there aren't a bunch of flaws, since I basically wrote this up at like 5 am.

DiceMan
January 9th 2010


7068 Comments


Review is nice dude you've done well. I'm going to have to get this now, and go see the movie. I am always pleased with movie scores as long as they aren't cluttered with shitty pop songs or anything. They're always incredibly dynamic which makes it all the more interesting to listen to.

Phil
January 9th 2010


1473 Comments


Excellent review! Although, it is Ellis, not Hillis which I presume is due to spell checker. The atmosphere and soundscapes are so depressing yet beautifully played.

YouAreMySilence
January 9th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah didn't even notice it changed. Thanks I'll get on that.

Kiran
Emeritus
January 10th 2010


6002 Comments


Literature and the arts have always been great interests of mine, but ironically I have never really enjoyed reading fictional.

Should just be 'fiction'! Great first paragraph though, I liked the way you emphasized restraint and then continue to describe it as the key value of the soundtrack.

Love the book, haven't seen the movie, but the Cave and Ellis duo has always been interesting.

Digging: Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

Mendigo
January 10th 2010


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wtf, need to listen to this again, it really didn't strike me as anything special, but the (amazing) review makes me wanna hear this again now.
also I haven't read the book or seen the movie, but I'm actually planning to do both sooner or later.

YouAreMySilence
January 10th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah that makes more sense, I'll get on fixing that. And thanks for saying so that's what I was trying to do, I was accually afraid that I came off talking about the book and movie too much, I just felt that was the best way to explain it.
Thanks brah, you should do that. I would say maybe it was because you haven't read the book or the movie but I enjoyed this as much as I did attempting to keep my biases aside so idk :/.

Chewie
January 10th 2010


4532 Comments


the last paragraph in the Road is one of the best things I've ever read.

Chewie
January 10th 2010


4532 Comments


oh and your review flows very well, good job.

YouAreMySilence
January 10th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Completely agree, everytime I read it I get shivers down my spine.
And thanks man.

Phil
January 11th 2010


1473 Comments


I got it today, so far its pretty boring in all honesty. I am only 10 pages in, though. I'm sure it will get better.

YouAreMySilence
January 11th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well it isn't exactly fast paced lol. But I can definatly understand people finding it boring, just the way I can totally see why people could find bands like Stars Of The Lid boring but they're still one of my favorite artists.

RedSky
January 27th 2010


285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Watched a screener of the movie because the damn thing hadn't come out in the cinemas yet. Tragic but quite well done.

Listening to the soundtrack makes you appreciate how much it added to the sense of dread and foreboding. I can pretty much place the songs to scene without looking at the titles.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 27th 2010


4461 Comments


I just love the way he constructs his sentences, it's very poetic the way he inverts the verbs and whatnot. And yeah the last paragraph I had to read like four times after I finished reading it to fully get it. Though it still doesn't beat the last sentence to James Joyce's The Dead, that's the best sentence ever.



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