Like most soundtracks it works in part.
Chris Jones 2008-06-27
James Lavelle (now shorn of co-conspirator, Richard File) returns with an album that's not quite an album. End Titles...is a collection of works relating to, inspired by or written for the moving image. Like most soundtracks it works in part.
As befits an outfit known more for their ubiquity in the remixing world, what you get is heavy on atmosphere and light on really fine tunes. Luckily for soundtrack work this makes far more sense than on previous song-based collections. The instrumentals here divide into short mood pieces like End Titles, Synthetic Water, Even Balance and In A Broken Dream. All give welcome pause for thought between the actual songs. Longer pieces like Trouble In Paradise tend to be Ennio Morricone-inspired slices of string sultriness, tipping into bombast at times.
Meanwhile, on the songs most of the guests (and it wouldn't be an Unkle album without a host of those) have worked with Lavelle before. And most of them were featured on the band's last album, War Stories. Nocturnal (with a massed chorus of Chris Goss, James Petralli AND Robbie Furze) chugs along like a testosterone-pumped early Eno number or an LCD Soundsystem outtake. But Chemical's skittering Buckley-esque dash is actually weakened by Josh Homme's indistinct whine. The trouble is the generic big beat-driven heroics are just TOO generic: Four-to-the-floor beats bolted together over rather cluttered productions.
That said, the tracks with Clayhill's Gavin Clarke such as Blade In The Back work well, as does the bubbling, brooding Heaven. However, Open Up Your Eyes, with Abel Ferrara doing a Bob Dylan impersonation is probably best glossed over.
In the end one wishes that Unkle had gone all out for a record filled with moody atmospherics. As such End Titles... only half succeeds.