Last November, the soundtrack was released on vinyl via Goner Records and Portugal's Chaputa! Records. It's barely left the turntable since. For what this double LP offers is nothing less than a reanimated, full-strength Frankenstein's monster of '90s garage rock, retro rock, and lo-fi experimentalism.
If the movie itself is a brilliant hodge-podge of styles, so is the album. The tracks are not just lo-fi, they are different varieties of lo-fi, from the late Jack Taylor's bashed-out title song, to the terrifying/thrilling onslaught of Guitar Wolf, to the quavering homespun charm of Poli Sci Clone. Satisfyingly snotty vocals and chugging/chopping guitars abound, as in contributions by the Makers, the Drags, Gasoline, and Los Diablos del Sol, but many artists you might think you have pegged defy formula altogether.
People were already nostalgic for the Gories by 1997, but Mick Collins avoids that familiar territory with a kind of minimalist crime jazz built on the prominent sax work of Jim Spake. Nick Diablo's track is reminiscent of Can's “Ethnographic Forgery” series, with Diablo channeling a lost field recording of some aged Delta harp player. Tracks from '68 Comeback and Jack Oblivian are littered with wah-wah guitar, organ, and synth hiccups that are true to the flick's sci-fi universe. Or, in the case of Jack Oblivian's back-shed funk “Vice Party,” the flick's soft porn universe.
- Dan Ball
- The Clears
Mingled in with all these sonic adventures, we also hear some first rate songwriting. The closer, of course is the 1953 chestnut, “Look Me Over Closely,” (later popularized by the White Stripes), but we also hear the neo-classic swamp pop of the Royal Pendletons, whose “I'm a Sore Loser” is perhaps even more a definitive track than Taylor's.
- The Royal Pendletons
And finally, in stark contrast with so much clamor, side three closes with the simple, haunting “Bad Man” by Greg Oblivian/Greg Cartwright, all mellow guitar, toy piano, and disembodied, over-the-phone vocals. The recurrence of that track through the film anchors it in a seemingly incongruous mood of regret and heartache. Though it no doubt surprised many Oblivians fans at the time (for this was well before the Reigning Sound), it's an especially fitting cornerstone for a film built on, and reveling in, incongruities.