Various Artists New Moon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Review

Soundtrack. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Kids, get exploring these acts. This is your foot in the door.

Mike Diver 2009

With these eyes having never seen Twilight, or indeed the sequel this disc supports, ears can absorb what’s on offer without bias. The senses will not collude to conjure memories of particular scenes, of how a moment was made perfect by the synergy of music and movement. But most who pick this soundtrack up will be familiar with the cinematic adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s novels, and one hopes that their enjoyment of vampire flicks of teen romance will turn them on to some mightily fine musicians as a result.

A fine cast, featuring critically acclaimed heavyweights like Thom Yorke, Bon Iver (who collaborates with the equally celebrated St Vincent), Death Cab for Cutie and Grizzly Bear (appearing with Victoria Legrand, of fine Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House), has been assembled, and for the most part their contributions are entirely exclusive to this release.

Death Cab, a mainstream concern since the release of 2005’s major label debut Plans, provide the compilation’s lead single, with Meet Me on the Equinox released in September and its video, dripping with clips of the New Moon movie, made available the following month. It’s right that it’s up first and done away with, though, as much of what follows is better.

Justin Vernon – aka Bon Iver – lends his superbly spectral vocals to the achingly gorgeous Roslyn, a song that’s only elevated in its ethereal elegance by the understated backing of Annie Clark, aka St Vincent. Presumably it appears in the film at a moment when thoughts are far from sinking fangs into flesh. Similarly delightful of acoustic reverie – unexpectedly so given their past form – is Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s gently plucked Done All Wrong.

Muse don’t do subtle all that often, and their I Belong to You (a mix exclusive to this release) is among the livelier numbers on offer, albeit some way from the epic bombast of their regular output. Grizzly Bear’s Legrand team-up, Slow Life, is wonderfully sombre of tone, the spaces left silent in the mix every bit as vital to the overall impression left as its shimmering flourishes of baroque pop. But it’s Thom Yorke’s Hearing Damage that lingers in the mind longest – oppressive of rumbling beat, cold to the touch, yet exposing a heart more vulnerable than any other arrangement here.

Kids, get exploring these acts. This is your foot in the door.

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