Latest reviews of new albums:
Wicked Blood
  • Composed by Elia Cmiral
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2014 / 39m

A direct-to-video thriller directed by Mark Young, Wicked Blood sees two sisters trapped in their family’s life of crime; then one of them falls in love with a man at war with the head of their family.  All cheery stuff.  The score is by Elia Cmiral, whose Ronin was so impressive all those years ago but it seems he has struggled to find many hits since then, with his career never really taking off as a result.  My preconception of what Wicked Blood would sound like was that it would be a probably highly synthetic soundscape designed to be chilling and disturbing; the reality is, pleasingly, some way away from that.  The score opens with a wonderfully atmospheric main title piece in which melody is at the fore – the small performing ensemble has a definite American South feel, but with a string quartet that adds a laid back and gentle sound; the following “Broken Dreams” is even better, a gorgeous violin solo adding further to the folksy feel.

The score does then turn somewhat more intense – there is a darkness which comes to the fore during the third cue, “Bike Ride” – but it remains resolutely melodic, the ensemble remains the same, and it is punctuated by surprisingly emotional moments of reflection, often for solo piano.  While electronics do occasionally become more prominent, there is always that acoustic sound in contrast so while those moments are less satisfying, they certainly add to the story the music is telling, which is very impressive in the way it conjures a time and place and a specific set of feelings.  It’s a nice album, nothing earth-shattering, but consistently listenable and it reveals a side to the composer I hadn’t heard before.  Certainly worth a go.

Rating: *** | |

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