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Various Artists This Is England - OST Review

Compilation. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

All in all, a soundtrack as epic as its film counterpart.

Tim Nelson 2007

'It was important to us that people realized the original skinheads were not right wing thugs', says Shane Meadows, the film’s director. 'The 80s were also a time when different tribes and their music collided'. The soundtrack reflects this, mixing reggae cuts classic and rare with a sprinkling of early 1980s tracks, including Dexy’s “Come On, Eileen” and Soft Cell’s version of “Tainted Love”.

This is the soundrack to Meadows’ latest offering, an impressive story about a boy’s journey through one school holiday in 1983, moving from the aftermath of the Falkands War to growing up in the local skinhead scene, and dealing with inter-racial conflict and rites of passage. There is original material, including Gravenhurt’s “Nicole” and Gavin Clark’s “Never Seen the Sea,” and the album is studded with dialogue from the film, including the priceless “Shoe Shop.”

The reggae ranges from classics by Toots and the Maytals such as “Pressure Drop” and “54 46 Was My Number” and the Upsetter’s “Return of Django” to Al Barry and the Cimaron’s transcendent “Morning Sun”. Also included is a great 2-Tone track from the Specials', “Do the Dog”, again reminding us of the inter-racial roots of the modern British music scene.

At the centre of it all is the stunning “Ritornare” by Ludvocio Einaudi (who contributes two further tracks), a reminder that it is often the outsider who makes the most penetrating observations, a welcome message in times that, then and now, often see us assailed by the forces of division.

All in all, a soundtrack as epic as its film counterpart.

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