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Soundtrack Review

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I Sell the Dead
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Jeff Grace
Movie Score Media
RRP: £12.99
Available 04 August 2009

Jeff Grace, is back with a score for producer Larry Fessenden: I Sell the Dead. Grace, who is best known for his avant garde string quartet works (The Last Winter, The Roost, Joshua), uses larger forces than usual in I Sell the Dead. The music certainly has its "violent" moments, but it also reflects the tongue-in-cheek qualities of the film with great flair. Soundtrack aficionados will certainly enjoy its Herrmannesque qualities and inspired orchestrations. I Sell the Dead, an acclaimed horror comedy, stars Ron Perlman and Dominic Monaghan...

Jeff Grace's score for I Sell the Dead is a wonderfully tongue in cheek take on the traditional horror score. That's not to say it's cheesy and full of cliches, far from it, more that he has fun with the genre.

We kick off with 'Opening Titles' which to me (at 1 min, 14 sec) brought to mind a hint of Danny Elfman's score for Beetlejuice and (at 1 min, 40 sec) a taste of Ed Welch's music for The Thirty Nine Steps.

'Lagols Island' pays homage to the overly used theme from Jaws by John Williams. In fact this is mirrored later in 'Valentine Kelly' in the form of music which is not dissimilar to that which Williams used as the shark threat subsided.

'A What Which?' is an interesting track which has a subtle oompah band style backing which also incorporates a flute (or it could be a recorder) and, more oddly, whistling.

'The Resurrection Apprentice' reminded me (especially the segment that starts 30 secs in and then is repeated throughout) of Jerry Goldsmith's score for Poltergeist.

'Cornelius Murphy' - Kicks off with a homage to Psycho as well as incorporating elements of Cape Fear - in fact it's fair to say that this is a bit of a mini Bernard Herrmann fest which will delight fans of his music. This Herrmann theme is revisited in a number of tracks, most notably 'From a Long Line of Ghouls'.

'A Hard Slog' has a stringed instrument acting as a siren at the core of the melody, which is quite interesting and rather mesmerising.

'The Dead Undead' opens with a chillingly beautiful theme - and for me is the most interesting track on the album. It incorporates so many different feelings, emotions and music themes that it's like listening to a mini album in itself. And at just under three minutes, that's quite an accomplishment.

And we finish off with 'A Cemetery Stroll' which is a well executed comical piece that leaves you wanting more.

From start to finish this release is a complete joy. There are countless original themes and interesting musical touches that make this an essential purchase for soundtrack lovers.


Darren Rea

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Jeff Grace - I Sell the Dead (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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