EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY - MANGLEHORN

Released June 22, 2015

By Fiona Roome

Released June 19, 2015, Manglehorn, starring Al Pacino, details the story of lost love and the process of rebuilding a life following this loss. Holly Hunter, Pacino’s love interest, appears to play the senior citizen’s equivalent of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who lures Al Pacino out of his locksmith melancholy and into life. She does through her shy smirks and coy looks which are punctuated by Explosions in The Sky's tinkling melodies.

The film itself did not receive overwhelmingly favourable praise. ImbD rated it 6/10 and Rotten Tomatoes gave it a score of fifty percent. That said, the soundtrack accompaniment appears to be appropriate. The trailer even seems to lean on the sountrack to give it dramatic significance. This is particularly emphatic when Al Pacino ambles through the scene of a car wreckage carrying a white, exceptionally fluffy cat and wearing a grave expression. This scene relies heavily on the soundtrack to give it dignity, as it would be somewhat ludicrous without Explosions in the Sky’s track.

The light, airy sounds of this album aligns with the current trend of indie-drama soundtracks. The score written by this Texas-born band might not be terribly unique, but it gets the job done. Without context, the sound evoked glacier lakes, Alaskan shoreline, and icy terrain. Imagine my surprise when I learned this film features Al Pacino as an ex-convict locksmith who can't shake a girl he's sweet on.

The tracks are, for the most part, quite peaceful, even the foreboding ones. As is characteristic of soundtracks in general, this album serves as good background music: something to play while studying, or writing a letter. It tends to get repetitive, but again, this is the nature of the beast. Soundtracks tend to cycle back on themselves.

The use of the rolling crescendoed timpanis is also familiar in soundtrack, and gets a little repetative over the course of the album. However, timpanis are classic for a reason, and often they serve to emphasize an image on screen.

Explosions in The Sky is typically instrumental, and so the fact that they were commissioned to write the score for Manglehorn is not all too surprising. However, the soundtrack does feel different from their usual fare. The Manglehorn soundtrack does not favor stringed instruments as much as say, You're Hand in Mind does with its treble guitar melodies.

A few tracks were somewhat reminiscent of Jon Brion’s compositions for Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. In this sense, Manglehorn’s soundtrack seems to hit the essentials for a sonic theme detailing nostalgia, love, loss, and revival.

Explosions in the Sky have been around for about a decade and have done soundtracks for several movies, like Lone Survivor (2013). On top of that, they've released six studio albums. The most recent include The Rescue (2005), All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (2007), and Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (2011).

Overall, this album is a great background sound for a mellow atmosphere: ideal for reading or doing some living room yoga. As far as soundtracks go, it’s fairly interchangeable: this could be the score for almost any drama film. Still, you can’t deny, it’s a pleasant listen.

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