Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2023 June 12 • Monday

The 782nd Soundtrack of the Week is Nicholas Carras's music for The Doll Squad, "an elite army of female assassins in a race to save the world", which sounds to me like just another way of saying probably one of the best movies ever made!

It's on what they're calling "jumpsuit green vinyl" and, even more impressively, has an old-school print-out of the liner notes.

And what about the music? It starts with a very short "Big Boom", a dramatic suspense piece that's like an extended sting, and then has a bit of dialogue from the movie, the first of many such bits.

The first substantial cue is "Doll Squad Theme", a grooving number that's part Bond, part Shaft. Wah-wah guitar plays a prominent part, as do horns, an indication of what to expect from much of the music. The drums are really sharp on this.

Next is "Fateful Warning", a more atmospheric and pensive piece that makes effective use of organ and flute.

This is followed by "Dangerous Trail", basically a reprise of the main theme, and then the relatively subdued and suspenseful "Mad Man Talk", a short cue with organ as the main voice.

"Jealous Lady" features the alto sax on top of some interesting organ sounds, as well as the other woodwinds and ubiquitous electric bass guitar.

There's a lot of space and long tones in "Double Trouble", a restrained but tension-building piece in the first half but a soul jazz funk action cue in the second half.

Flute and piano are key structural elements in the jazz-ambient "A Put-Out", which almost sounds like a hybrid of west coast jazz and minimalism, like somewhere between Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible music and Philip Glass.

Toes can start tapping again with the slinky "The Big Switch", which pleasantly realls some John Barry, some Henry Mancini, some Lalo Schifrin.

While there was a fateful warning before, there's now a "Fateful Rendezvous" It's more slinky spy jazz with some nice '70s touches, including, of course, wah-wah guitar.

Snare drum and timpani play a big part in "Hounds & Hares", as does trilling flute, giving the beginning of the cue a Mission: Impossible feel. Then it switches into a groovier mode with some simple swaying chord changes.

"Freedom Beat" opens with some break beat drumming, soon joined by some cool horn playing, giving it all a lean, soul/acid jazz feel as well as still being soundtracky.

Then there's the aptly titled "Calm & Cool", a flute feature with a mellow, sunny, lilting feel to it.

The record concludes with "Song for Sabrina", a vocal version of the main theme ("Forever is a word on your tongue / A song that is sung and soon forgotten").