Peter McConnell – Broken Age

3 out of 5

Label: iam8bit

Produced by: Gonsa (vinyl master)

In the liner notes for Peter McConnell’s Broken Age score, he states that the composition was “an evolving journey, much like the game itself,” going from smaller pieces to full orchestral arrangements.

The game, a point-and-click adventure spread out over episodes, is, indeed, something of a – from a negative point of view – fractured experience, which absolutely has the look the game’s studio (DoubleFine) is known for, as well as their blending of humor and emotional depth, but also felt like a consolidation of similarly styled games from across the years.  This pretty-surfaced, blurry-focused sensibility thus extends to McConnel’s work.  Stretching from shorter cues and musical ‘thoughts’ on the A and B-sides to fully realized tracks on C and D, there are some absolutely wonderful moments, but they never clearly come to a stylistic fruition.  There’s also the feeling that McConnell is holding back a bit, as themes tiptoe toward over-emotive Disney fare, but pull on the reigns before really bursting out with that type of energy.  Relistens definitely allow a listener to hear some of the careful considerations threaded through the more immediately accessible quirky, bouncy tunes, and iam8bit’s mastering is surprisingly warm, as the label often delivers quite digital scores.  However, just like I emerged from playing the game without a real solid reaction to it, rather vague feelings, the score follows suit, delivering pleasant and interesting tunes that don’t resolve into a strong thematic throughline.