Latest reviews of new albums:
Kingsman: The Secret Service
  • Composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson
  • La-La Land Records / 2015 / 57m

Matthew Vaughn’s latest sassy action movie sees Colin Firth play a secret agent up against a lisping sociopathic villain played by Samuel L. Jackson.  It’s been well-received by critics and audiences alike.  Henry Jackman has become Vaughn’s composer of choice after being one of the 117 composers who scored a minute each of Kick-Ass – and Matthew Margeson, most frequently Jackman’s assistant, was another one and gets full composer credit here.  Their score is great fun, simple but highly entertaining.  It’s almost all built around one theme, which appears almost non-stop but (unusually for such a situation) doesn’t wear out its welcome: it’s so fluid and used in such a variety of ways the composers always keep it fresh.  There’s a touch of heroism to it, sometimes a tongue-in-cheek quality.

The action music here is the king – there’s a lot of it, and it’s good.  It varies in style enormously – at times it’s like listening to a Remote Control pastiche of David Arnold’s pastiche of John Barry, at others it’s so bright and cheerful it’s a bit like a John Powell animation.  The most tightly-done Barry stuff is the best – a lot of care has been taken to make it sound authentic in certain ways (there’s a sequence in “Shame We Had to Grow Up” with bass flute, muted trumpet and piercing flute that could easily be from Goldfinger) but, understandably if disappointingly, there’s never a Remote Control cliché too far away.  That does give the music a disposable feel in a way, but even if you don’t remember anything about it after it finishes there’s no doubting how much fun it is while it lasts.  La-La Land’s album is available as either a physical copy or a download, with the former containing around ten minutes extra music.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. tiago (Reply) on Wednesday 25 February, 2015 at 01:41

    The main theme is good. It has a lot of similarities with other Jackman’s themes, notably the Captain America, Big Hero 6 e X-Men, but I think this is a good thing, and gives some consistency to his works. The homage to Barry and Arnold were pretty nice too. However, this score disappointed me where it should be its best part: the action cues. I couldn’t like the Remote Control approach on spy music.