In the soon-to-be-released Sunshine Cleaning, a little dramedy set to be this year’s Little Miss Sunshine starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, and Alan Arkin light melancholy is the name of the game. And how would I know this without having seen the movie? Because, my friends, I have listened to the lightheartedly melancholy soundtrack, released by Lakeshore Records. Featuring score work by Michael Penn (brother of “commie, homo-loving son of a gun” Sean), and seven song tracks, the soundtrack for Sunshine Cleaning takes hints from all over, with the song tracks leaning towards Margot at the Wedding’s hiply mellow track selection, Penn’s tracks resembling everything from Bobby Johnston’s Wristcutters score to Michael Brook’s score work on the aforementioned Sean’s hit feature Into the Wild. In short, this is an album that knows how to maintain a mood without getting stuck in a rut.

Much of the score work that Penn presents here is backed up with quiet vocals, softly uttering filler like “Na na na.” Many of the tunes sound like they’d make excellent backdrops for actual songs (with lyrics more powerful than “Na na na.”) The only downside to Penn’s tracks have nothing to do with the songs themselves, but for some reason they all fade out slowly rather than ending which is a bit off-putting. The bands chosen for this soundtrack are Golden Smog, Ken Andrews, Electrelane, Bodega, Emile Millar, David Maizlin, and the Norman Greenbaum classic “Spirit In the Sky.” Each song fits the general thematic tone laid out and held together by Penn’s score work, though “Spirit In the Sky” is the most out of place – luckily, it’s also the most catchy, with unmistakable opening guitar riffs that immediately catch the listener’s ear.

Overall, the soundtrack for Sunshine Cleaning – spanning 23 tracks and 52 minutes - is a remarkable little collection of music that will have fans of mellow, lighthearted-yet-emotional music thanking Lakeshore Records for delivering quality music to their ears.

Zach’s Rating: 9 (out of 10)

To purchase the soundtrack for Sunshine Cleaning, visit Amazon

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