Things We Lost in the FireLike the film this score was created for, this soundtrack is a painstaking mix of individual thought and formulaic, sure-to-succeed delicacies. With Swedish composer Johan Soderqvist credited as the composer and Santoalalla as the composer of the themes, this pairing is as much Oscar bait as the Del Toro/Berry headline combination the film itself has gone with.

That doesn’t make the hauntingly eerie musical result of the matchup any less beautiful or moving, though some of the acoustic work sounds a little bit too much like the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack that won Santoalalla an Oscar in 2005. The tone here is decidedly melancholy and emotive, bringing forth the idea of drama and intensity, and perhaps even hope in a few tracks like “Harper on Sofa,” where the uplifting strings make a brief appearance.

An intriguing aspect to this score is that few of the songs are longer than two minutes; in fact, most are under one minute. This keeps the soft energy rolling constantly, but also serves to separate the emotional impact of each tune. Overly explanatory tracks like “Drug Alley” bring the soundtrack down a little bit by explicitly telling the audience how they should feel rather than exploring the situation and allowing the audience to feel for themselves.

More subdued tracks, like the old Western-themed “Jerry and Neal” give a nice surprise boost and help remind the listener that these are masters at work. But by the time you’ve heard the tenth variance on the four-string acoustic picking, it gets a little too repetitive to be enjoyable. Overall, like the film itself, this soundtrack suffers from trying too hard to be perfect and slightly safe rather than allowing the composers to truly explore and experiment.

Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: Your Oscar submission demo reel
Stay Away if: You already have the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack

To purchase Things We Lost in the Fire soundtrack, visit FYE or Lakeshore Records
For more information on the film, visit the homepage

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