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Drive Angry
  • Composed by Michael Wandmacher
  • Lakeshore Records / 2011 / 59:46

In his latest opus, Drive Angry, Nicolas Cage drives angrily.  Some other things happen as well, but they’re almost certainly not as consequential (it’s hard to imagine why else they wouldn’t be mentioned in the title).  Director Patrick Lussier teams up again with composer Michael Wandmacher (who scored his previous film, My Bloody Valentine).  Wandmacher’s music for last year’s Piranha was neither subtle nor original, but it was extremely satisfying in its action-packed exuberance, so I was looking forward to hearing this, expecting more of the same.  Instead, it’s perhaps a case of less of the same.

The score consists primarily of very loud passages of sampled music accompanied by a few live instruments (almost all played by the composer himself) and, most notably, electric guitar.  But for all its volume and all its pace, it just seems a bit dreary – the sort of thing that you find buried in the middle of one of Brian Tyler’s Fast and Furious scores, which are themselves not measures of refinement.  It’s so frenetic, so determined to be energetic, it ends up simply being tiresome (on the album, anyway).  There are very few more restrained passages which might have offered up some much-needed breathing space (and indeed when they do appear, the mellow sounds are a real treat); and I can’t imagine too many listeners being able to keep up with music like this for a full hour.  In smaller doses everything seems fine, really – nothing outstanding, nothing award-winning, but fine – for me at least, the album just doesn’t work as a whole.  **

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