Latest reviews of new albums:
Rebuilding Paradise
  • Composed by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe
  • Lakeshore / 35m

A National Geographic documentary directed by Ron Howard, Rebuilding Paradise tells the story of exactly that – the rebuilding of the town of Paradise in California following its virtual complete destruction in the 2018 wildfires. Hans Zimmer is firmly established as Howard’s composer-of-choice, scoring most of his films since 2006; this time he’s brought Lorne Balfe along with him. The short album’s opening track is its best: a stirring anthem full of the spirit of the community who faced and ultimately overcame disaster.

This is followed by the elegiac “Day of Fire”, the strings giving it a desperate, strained sound; then comes a hopeful, optimistic sound in the other real standout piece, “One Year Anniversary”, the score’s simple theme transplanted to piano and guitar over the strings and keyboards before everything is bulked up and the music really soars (it’s a bit like those Zimmer-branded BBC nature documentary scores, but better). The bulk of what remains is sombre and reflective – often with tentative little phrases on piano and guitar with the strings underneath, it is appropriately restrained. The sound alternates its focus between the loss and the recovery but there is more of the former, and you should absolutely not expect any cheesy histrionics. It’s a nice album with those two real standout cues, certainly worth checking out.

Rating: *** | |

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