Latest reviews of new albums:
Wish I Was Here
  • Composed by Rob Simonsen
  • Miles of Lions Records / 2014 / 21m

Wish I Was Here is a Kickstarter-funded comedy drama written and directed by Zach Braff, in which he stars as an actor struggling to find purpose in his life – a purpose he finds when he is forced into home-schooling his two children.  A soundtrack album was released when the film received its limited distribution earlier in 2014 but there was no room on it amongst the songs for any of Rob Simonsen’s score, which has now been given its own album a couple of months later.  It’s an absolutely delightful little score – though you wouldn’t necessarily know that from the opening, “Running Through the Woods”, an edgy electronic piece.  But then the sun starts to shine in “The Family Bloom”, the charming main theme heard for piano with guitar.  “The Frozen Forest” is a beautiful secondary theme, sounding like shimmering shafts of light breaking their way through the trees, evocative and simply gorgeous.

A more upbeat melody is introduced in “I’m Excited to Ask Her a Question”, florid and uptempo and once again quite delightful.  “The Dark Cliffs of Father Rabbi” is, as its name suggests, one of the score’s trips to darker territory, some pulsing new age synths giving it real character.  It’s not long though before the warmth is back, “Talking to Jesse” a lovely guitar piece and then “I Am Already a Great Matriarch” a more dramatic piano piece.  Themes start to repeat after that for the rest of the very brief album, which is a breezy and charming one.  The performing ensemble is extremely small (I think it’s just piano, guitar and synths, maybe the occasional live string) but Simonsen’s music has a very big heart which means the album is captivating.  Yes, it isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it makes for a truly pleasant way of spending some time and by the time the last track, the gorgeous “Forward Is the Only Direction We Have”, finishes, I just want to play the whole thing again.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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