Whether it's a full original score or a collection of various tunes, film soundtracks are either able to stand on their own legs or they need to be heard within the film to be fully appreciated.
Broadcast's latest album firmly belongs in the former camp. Their first film score is the logical next step for a band that's always been engrossed with the psychedelic sounds of the late 1960s. While their earlier material was a kaleidoscopic haze of groovy space-age discordia, this is their descent into the occult underworld where black magic has replaced the Age of Aquarius.
The film itself centers on a Foley artist working on an audio track for an Italian giallo film in the 1970s. Eerie lounge music has always been a staple of the giallo film, and Broadcast doesn't hold back on the chills. "The Equestrian Vortex" is a rollicking haunted hayride with its cocktail-lounge drums, fleeting gasps and a mad organist's solo. "The Fifth Claw" could have been an outtake from the Suspiria soundtrack; it's a minute-long piece of grinding electronics and witch cackling, while "Teresa, Lark of Ascension" is a sinister number masquerading as a tender reprieve. It's on this track that I was reminded of vocalist Trish Keenan's untimely death in 2011, her angelic vocal chorus swirling majestically with a haunting calliope.
Throughout the album, snippets of the film's dialogue, sound effects and atmosphere seep seamlessly into the music, and, like the best giallo soundtracks, melodies and motifs are oft-repeated with different instrumentation. Broadcast's latest should be a welcome addition for any soundtrack aficionado.Casey Dewey