You know this is no ordinary soundtrack score album when the first track pumped into your ears is named “Zombie Attack in the Eighties”. The fun cue is a spot on throwback at how zombie movies were scored, well, in the eighties. That, however, does not set the tone for the highly recommended 65 minute album, as we eventually found out, before proudly declaring that this is our favourite soundtrack album for 2012.
Following a brief “Normanat the Piano/ Main Title”, we are brought into a melancholically whimsical fantasy land with “Norman’s Walk”, a quirkily engaging main theme which will be heard later in the album.
The music on the soundtrack also fits nicely into the mould of the genre of animation films. Want something adventurous? You’ve got “Alvin Attacks”. Looking for something suspenseful? Listen to “Goodbye Mr. P/ Historic Drama/ Grounded/ Heavy Visitation”. Dying for an action cue? Jump straight to “The Dead Shall Be Raised”.
The sounds created for this stop motion animated comedy horror film is distinctively Jon Brion, if you are familiar with his past works. Having worked on other offbeat films like Punch Drunk Love (2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Synecdoche, New York (2008), the American pop multi instrumentalist has channeled his indie feel into this score. Whether it’s the underlying percussion beats, the grandly despondent string orchestrations, or the resonating lonely chimes, the sounds created for the film are not what you’d hear very often in conventional productions.
One highlight to listen out for is the 16 minute “People Attack”, a track that brings a surprisingly refreshing feel every other time you listen to it. There are other lengthy tracks on this album, like the eight minute “Zombies Attack” and “Aggie Fights”. These cues allow for different themes to be infused into the track, and they provide a wider spectrum of context for the film, which is also very highly recommended.
The heartrending “Resolution” is so emotionally engaging, it may just bring a tear to your eye. It sure helps if you’ve seen the film and know how this cue plays out in the story. Make no mistake, this soundtrack is definitely one underrated gem of 2012.
Recommended Track: (15) Resolution
Review by John Li