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Soundtrack Review

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The Sweeney (Original Soundtrack Score)


Composer: Lorne Balfe
Rhino Records
RRP: £13.99
5 310542 135
Available 10 September 2012

Based on the hit 1970s UK TV series, The Sweeney follows legendary Detective Inspector Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) and his loyal partner George Carter (Ben Drew aka “Plan B”) - old school crime fighters enforcing the law in a modern underworld. Armed and dangerous, the Flying Squad (rhyming slang Sweeney Todd) have their own unique way of operating, however, they always get the results. With a bank heist in progress and his old enemy making a re-appearance on the London crime scene, Regan will do whatever it takes to get the job done, even defying orders from his no nonsense Guv (Damian Lewis)...

I've been a fan of Lorne Balfe since I heard his work (with Hans Zimmer) for the console game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2). In addition, his score for Assassin's Creed Revelations (which he provided half of the music with Jesper Kyd providing the other half) is one of the most impressive game scores I've heard to date.

So when I heard Balfe was scoring the soundtrack to The Sweeney I was very much looking forward to hearing what he would come up with. Unfortunately I found this to be a rather bland score full of atmospheric scene enhancing tracks, which doesn't produce any memorable themes. I'm sure, when accompanying the movie, the score does much to heighten the action, but listened to outside the cinema this is a rather dull listen.

Balfe does pay homage to the original TV theme, but you'll have to be really listening hard to pick up the very subtle, and wonderfully realised, musical references.

If I'm being perfectly honest, it sounds like a collection of rejected ideas from MW2. In fact, on more than a couple of occasions I spotted very similar sections of music: 'Opening Titles' is very similar to the atmospheric background music in MW2; as is 'Regan's Beginning'; 'Country Surveillance'... actually I better stop, because just about every track has major similarities to Balfe's MW2 work. In fact the middle section of 'Put Your Trousers On, You're Nicked!' is almost a direct copy of a track on MW2 with just a few minor changes. Now, for me, that's not a problem. I bought the original CD of that score as well as doing my own rip of all of the background tracks of the game as I enjoyed them so much, but what we have with The Sweeney is more of the same, but just not as interesting.

The score lasts for 1 hr, 1 min, 23 sec (although Balfe's tracks make up 46 min 35 sec with the remainder being made up of tracks by Magnetic Man, Doctor P and Barry Adamson.)

As I mentioned before I'm a huge Balfe fan, sadly I was hoping to see him take a step forward with this score and I can't help feeling that it was an opportunity sadly missed.


Darren Rea

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The Sweeney (Original Soundtrack) - Lorne Balfe
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