Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2020 September 07 • Monday

Dominic Frontiere's score for the movie Hammersmith Is Out is our 638th Soundtrack of the Week.

The main title blends harpsichord with a weird electric guitar sound, something similar to a wah effect but I don't think it's that. A breathy female voice says "Hammersmith is out!" with echo, the groove gets a little deeper, and then after a Morricone-like percussion sting, it swings into groovy psych pop. It's an unusual mixture of things but it's neat!

The next tune is "Kiddo", which is kind of a cheesy lounge pop instrumental number with a sprinkle of soul and sunshine pop and, out of nowhere, a blistering acid rock guitar solo that's quite impressive.

Then there's a proper song, "For Openers", which has lyrics by its singer, Sally Stevens. It's a country pop/rock/blues/waltz. "Many times I've tried / Walking out the door / But your fancy lies / Kept me coming back for more." It even has a recitation section.

Then it's back to cheesy lounge pop background music stuff for "Cookout Society". It's hard to listen to without thinking of wall to wall carpet and ferns. It's a nice tune but the sonics of it instantly conjure up a kind of anaesthetized decadence. Nice guitar playing on this one, too.

"Henry Joe and Jimmie Jean" is a wistful and western-tinged cue that has harmonica has the lead song and stylistically fits comfortably in between some of Henry Mancini's music for Silver Streak and John Barry's Americana concert music.

The A side is over after "Get Me Out of Here", which starts off sounding like the album's first representation of dramatic underscore but very quickly revisits the main title theme.

Side B kicks off with another song that Sally Stevens wrote lyrics for: "When Were Your Dreams Worth Remembering (Jimmie Jean's Theme)". "Sad little girl in the looking glass / Who told you wishes come true?" The vocals are provided by a female chorus and Frontiere accompanies them with lush string arrangements.

After this we go "Under the Bridge" for another reprise of the main theme with a very dramatic intro that uses what sounds like a cathedral organ.

Things pick up in energy and tempo for "Topless Rock" which is a frenetic go-go number with Hammond organ and horns adding to the electric guitar, bass and drums. It's pretty crazy and hard to resist!

It's a smooth transition from that to the bluesy and relaxed "Road House Blues", another tune that features the harmonica.

"Jimmie Jean's Theme" is an instrumental version of the vocal that started out the album side but slower, heavier and more solemn with a rich atmosphere of portentousness.

The energy level shoots up again with the acid rock funk go-go "Snake Dance", a definite highlight of this record with another burning guitar solo.

And then we just get the end title of the main theme again, and this colorful and exciting record is over too soon!