Will Bates and Phil Mossman
" A difficult album to tie down: film score, instrumental album or both? "
Written by Alan Rogers
- Review of
the regular release
Greta Gerwig plays Lola, a 29-year-old woman who is dumped by her long-time boyfriend Luke (Joel Kinnaman) just three weeks before their wedding. What then follows are a series of “desperate encounters in an attempt to find [Lola's] place in the world as a single woman approaching thirty”. We are in romantic comedy territory and Fall On Your Sword's Will Bates and Phil Mossman's have composed a light and catchy score that, as they mention in the PR notes, “sounds like something that she and her friends would listen to”.
Billed as a “multimedia group” rather than a band, attempting to meld a visual as well as aural components in their work, Fall On Your Sword have composed over half-a-dozen film scores in a relatively short period of time. Having previously come across their electronic-rich film scores for Kitao Sakurai's 2010 crime thriller Aardvark (Bates and Mossman's first film score collaboration) and then Mike Cahill's 2011 sci-fi drama Another Earth, their more gentle and organic score to Lola Versus was a surprise. Gone are the harsh electronics of Aardvark and Another Earth to be replaced by guitars, electric keyboards and drums, creating a series of tracks that play as explorations of rhythm and electronic sounds. However, the end result is thirty minutes of music that lacks much sense of emotion. Even the inclusion in some tracks of the breathy wordless vocal talent of Kat Auster doesn't help as Auster's contribution is very regular and rhythmical, sounding almost like an additional percussion instrument.
Many of the tracks on the album are interesting as separate, stand-alone pieces. However, as examples of film scoring they seem to function only as background “musak” to a by-the-numbers romantic comedy: after having listened to Lola Versus I don't feel as though I have been on any aural journey equivalent to what takes place on-screen. This isn't to say that there are no occasions where an emotions are hinted at. Tracks such as “Luke's Apartment” and “Reconciliation”, where the tempo is slowed right down and the sometimes relentless rhythms are stripped away, allow dreamy electric guitar and keyboards to step forward and establish a contended dream-state where the bustle of Lola's life just ebbs away.
Lola Versus is a difficult album to tie down. Listening to it I am left devoid of any idea of what the film might be about but, at the same time, there is much to enjoy from the various rhythms and soundscapes that Bates and Mossman establish in the music. Perhaps if I had approached the music not as a film score but rather as purely an instrumental album then the listening experience may not have been as frustrating as it has been. I would certainly recommend that readers check out audio samples to get hear what the album contains (“Opening Titles” and “End Titles” are good examples of how catchy the score can be). Lola Versus is available digitally from Lakeshore Records at the beginning of June and in stores as a physical CD one week later.
1. Beach Dream (1.26)
2. Opening Titles (4.37)
3. Lola Workout (3.26)
4. Pregnancy Test (1.41)
5. Encounter At Pratt (2.18)
6. Strip Club and Aftermath (6.08)
7. The Godfather Break-up (1.59)
8. Luke's Apartment (3.05)
9. Walk To Water (1.00)
10. Lola's Dream (4.00)
11. The Picnic (2.33)
12. Reconciliation (1.11)
13. End Titles (2.21)
Total Length: 35.51
(click to rate this score)
(total of 3 votes - average 1.5/5)
Lakeshore Records LKS342772 (regular release 2012)