3 out of 5
Label: Waxwork Records
Produced by: Jay Yuenger (mastered by)
Some very interesting thoughts, but ultimately too fleeting to make an impact. Something something how this parallels my thoughts on the movie.
Jed Kurzel’s score for The Babadook brings to mind some excellent soundtrack company, namely The Exorcist‘s quieter surges of discordance and choirs, and Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill industrial clatter. Sometimes the “sounds like” tag can be a badge of burden, just serving to remind you to go back and listen to the original versions of whatever you’re thinking of, but Kurzel does set a defined pacing and tone for Babadook that prevents those similarities from being distracting; it’s rather how I’ve stated it above: the soundtrack nestles in amongst the company of these other scores, not feeling out of place in presenting consistent off-kilterness, which is always good for a horror movie soundtrack.
Unfortunately, this is also a score of the “cue” variety, meaning our tracks rarely seem to last very long. No sooner has Kurzel brought in an interesting mood than for the track to just cut out, on to the next slow and haunting buildup. Only on the songs that are allowed a fuller runtime to conclude (or mostly conclude) a thought – which mainly means the theme, and the end credits – are we allowed to feel / hear what could have been, with Jed given more space to flesh things out. Otherwise, there’s some interesting stuff here, as well as a brilliantly slowed down / sped up lullabyish tune on side B, but its all a bit too ephemeral to be memorable.
Waxwork Records mastering seems pretty solid, serving the subtleties of the score well, and they have fun with the packaging, as the inside of the jacket is a pop-up.