Latest reviews of new albums:
Allied
  • Composed by Alan Silvestri
  • Sony Classical / 2016 / 42m

The World War II drama Allied stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian air force officer who poses as the husband of a French resistance operative (Marion Cotillard) on a mission – then they actually fall in love, only for him to find out later that she’s suspected of working for the Germans.  While director Robert Zemeckis hasn’t exactly been notching up hit after hit in the last few years, composer Alan Silvestri has generally been maintaining his end of their remarkably long-lived partnership and this film in particular seemed one capable of inspiring a great score.  Listening to the relatively short album, it’s really a rather crushing disappointment: far from being a new glorious entry in what is probably Hollywood’s longest unbroken director/composer relationship (16 films over 32 years so far), it turns out to be one of the least interesting entries in it.

There are essentially two sides to the score – low key (really, very low key) suspense music with long string notes and often percussion, including anachronistic and frankly awful electronics.  Silvestri can rarely have written anything duller – even when he adds the brass section and there’s a hint of action, it feels so half-hearted.  Better by far is the romantic theme that gets repeated several times – but even that is so similar to the theme from Castaway, I’m unsure even about suggesting downloading it in its most complete and satisfying form (the end title).  Having said that, it certainly is successful in conveying a sense of longing and love, and on its own terms is an attractive piece.  Most interesting by far are the new instrumental recordings of wartime standards which make up nearly half the album, but I guess most readers wouldn’t buy an album for something like that.  To add insult to injury, a major error in the mastering results in several minutes of the score (split between two cues) being in awful mono sound, and reportedly the album is still being sold with that error intact at the time of writing this review, so absolutely don’t buy it until it has been confirmed that has been corrected.  One for completists only.

Rating: * 1/2

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  1. Dan on Wednesday 14 December, 2016 at 03:18

    It’s not a great album, but it’s short, and Silvestri wasn’t likely asked to write most music. I think your being a bit harsh with that rating, then again I’m a much bigger fan of Silvestri’s music then you (at least if your ratings are anything to go by, I thought The Walk was great for example), so I was likely more forgiving, especially since Silvestri’s actually provided us with a pretty dang good romantic theme.