The UK band Tindersticks has released six albums, achieving a relatively large cult followin gin the UK and continental Europe and producing two soundtracks for French films. Now one of the founding members of the band, Dickon Hinchliffe has begun to make his own way in the scoring world, composing music for the films Keeping Mum, Forty Shades of Blue, and Married Life. His most recent composition work is for the midlife relationship dramedy Last Chance Harvey – starring Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman.
Hinchliffe’s score is light and carefree, with most pieces falling between the one and two minute range. In fact, the entire 17-track album is just over half an hour long. But despite it’s surprisingly short length, the score for Last Chance Harvey is a moving piece of work, focusing mainly on light piano progressions with subdued strings providing a quiet background for the piano’s notes. In short, this isn’t a score that tells a story with an orchestra. One might almost imagine that the piano and the strings are the two characters in the film, with the louder, heavier piano notes representing Hoffman’s struggling Harvey and the light, but hopeful strings representing Thompson’s Kate. Throughout the album’s 30 minutes, the piano and strings play with each other, each expressive and playful while still keeping a bit of distance.
The sudden appearance of the guitar in the title track, which comes near the end of the album, seems to bring the entire piece to its fruition, with the strings intermingling with the piano at full volume and the guitar starting up front and fading into the background as the piano and strings become more solid. The guitar also appears in the earlier track “The Walk,” which shares a similar sound to “Last Chance Harvey” but doesn’t feel as complete. Both prominently feature the same themes that are heard throughout, but the guitar seems to amplify everything.
Two songs are also included in the album. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’s “I’m A Mean, Mean, Mean Son Of A Gun” isn’t a bad song, though it’s presence in the middle of the album is a bit of a disruption, which is detrimental both to the enjoyment of the song as well as to the continuity of the album. The final track, Sandrine’s “Where Do We Go,” on the other hand, fits in perfectly in its final slot and wraps up the music nicely with poppy-cheesy lyrics and a sugary pop beat that provides the ideal wrap-up to an album of light piano.
Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: Anyone looking for a quiet collection of piano music, backed by soft strings
Stay Away if: You expect more than 30 minutes of music when you buy a score
If you buy just one track, make it this one: “Last Chance Harvey” – the guitar makes a surprise appearance in this title track
To purchase the score for Last Chance Harvey, visit Amazon