What with 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' not being released until Boxing Day and knowing little about what the film actually entails - Ben Stiller goes on some grand adventure to save his job and Sean Penn makes an appearance at some point - rather than approach this review by discussing how well the songs work as a soundtrack, it seemed best to approach it as a compilation with no hitherto connections.
The suspected whimsical air about the film suggests that the gentle soundtrack would accompany the various reveries Mitty travels through well and as a collection of songs there is a likeness throughout the album as one track drifts to the next. The quieted tone lasts throughout the album, diverting only briefly and only slightly when the pace quickens. These diversions come along frequently enough to prevent the temperance of the album from becoming tiresome and, as a stand-alone album, the quality of songs hold relatively strong for the full fifty minutes.
José Gonzalez has a handful of original songs on the album, also featuring with his side project Junip for a pair of back-to-back tracks. His third solo contribution '#9 Dream' is easily his best, his hazy vocals carried along by a round, guitar-led beat and subtle yet sweetly used orchestration overlaid on to the track as it progresses. The Junip track 'Far Away' is another standout; the steady build of the humming bass injecting a sense of urgency into the mostly gentle soundtrack. Of Monsters and Men's 'Dirty Paws' is another notable cut from the OST, the interweaving of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar "Raggi" Þórhallsson's finely-tuned harmonies proving their worth as always.
Continue reading: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty OST Album Review
Jose Gonzalez has not exactly been living the quiet life since the first Junip album, 'Fields', back in 2010 but it has taken him a while to come back into the fold and collaborate once more as part of this trio. The gap doesn't seem to have negatively impacted on the product as this self-titled album is full of hidden gems just waiting to give themselves up. If you're after immediate tracks with instant connectivity and clear commercial potential then Junip, the band or the album, are not for you, both are to be found under the term 'grower'.
The ten track set from Junip is full of subtle touches, intricate details and is sometimes more about what has been left out than put in. Less is more and artistic direction has had a strong enough will to determine that the production and arrangement are true to the band.
'Line Of Fire' sets the scene for the album with its revolving rhythms, undulating guitar and beautifully toned, smooth vocals. The harmonies build as a wall of sound washes over you: "Standing on higher ground, when you hear the sounds, you realize it's just the wind. And you notice it matters, who and what you let under your skin." The synthesised notes of Tobias Winterkorn's Moog usher in the softer sounds of the Folktronic track 'Suddenly'. The lighter percussive tempo has a no less engaging and enthralling vocal delivery before the bigger beats of the more extroverted 'So Clear' kick in. Here, a strong bass undercurrent scores the electro driven track as keyboard flourishes abound.
Continue reading: Junip - Junip Album Review