Marvin Hamlisch’s soundtrack for The Informant! – the latest production from director Steven Soderbergh – uses a recurring set of playful themes to prance along the edge of the absurd while still maintaining a level of expected Soderbergh-hipness. A prolific composer in the ’70s and ’80s, Hamlisch has only scored three films in the 21st century (including The Informant!), though his songs continually pop up in film and television. And as one of only nine artists to have won all four major entertainment awards (Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy), Hamlisch doesn’t have much to prove to anyone. In his score work for The Informant!, Hamlisch seems to be making that clear, taking a lighthearted and approach to the music. This 36 minute collection of tracks from the film captures the implied hilarity and faux-intense atmosphere of this film about corporate intrigue.

The recurring themes in the track “The Raid” using horns, drums, and a broad assortment of brass instruments showcases the best of what Hamlisch’s score has to offer, providing a silly, jesting backdrop to a seemingly dramatic scene. Something like Lalo Schifrin meets Tony Bennett, this score is something you might hear in a jazz bar in Las Vegas. Mixing in lighter piano-led tracks such as “Triplets,” “Trust Me (Instrumental) ” and the solo piano finale “The Informant” helps Hamlisch create a more diverse score without compromising the general theme of his work as a whole. Additionally, Hamlisch has the ability to play out numerous styles within the same thematic structure: the bass in “Multi-Tasking” has all the urban coolness of Ocean’s Eleven, while the fiddle in “Polygraph” bespeaks a down-home foot-stomping party taking place in a hay-filled barn loft.

The album closes out with the Steve Tyrell sung jazz track “Trust Me” followed by a solo piano performance of the title track, which helps cap off the excitement and action of previous tracks.  This album may be a bit short for a full soundtrack, but the quality and uniqueness of the music here makes up for that in a big way.

Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Giving your living room the feel of a high-class jazz lounge
Stay Away if: You want a true action soundtrack

To purchase the soundtrack for The Informant!, visit Amazon

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