Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2024 March 18 • Monday

And now it's back to a favorite, Joe Harnell's music for The Bionic Woman, for the 822nd Soundtrack of the Week. This is Volume 5 and contains compositions for "Assault on the Princess", "Bio-Feedback", "Jaime's Shield" Part 1 and "The Over-the-Hill Spy".

The cues from "Assault on the Princess" lean heavily on Harnell's Bionic Woman theme, not the Jerry Fielding title music that plays over the opening credits but a lyrical piece of music that Harnell can put over a vicious funk groove or make into a sweet and tender romantic moment.

In addition to that there's some Vegas-style writing, some restrained funk suspense pieces, a bit of jazz and dramatic underscore of various moods.

Unusual sonorities are front and center for "Bio-Feedback", with percussion and electric guitar (as well as maybe sitar), adding eerie and unsettling tones while oboe handles a lot of the main voicings.

"Tear Gas Run" has an interesting variation on Harnell's Bionic Woman with some relaxed grooves before returning to the more ominous ideas.

For "Jaimes' Shield", things start off very chipper with "Jaime the Cop", a cheerful and sunny piece with bits of funkiness dropped in before landing in a breezy and swinging 6/8 groove.

The rest of the score is heavier and more serious, despite some irresistible beats and arrangements that should make you tap your toes.

“The Over-the-Hill Spy" starts with the kind of cue that should make you think of stock footage of Washington, DC, before getting into a somewhat silly funky groove that gets interrupted by some quasi-classical and comedic writing.

The rest of it is fairly serious, though, and even has a pretty sick keyboard sound in parts.

After that comes a reverby and percussive electric guitar accompanied by drum set and bongos, bringing a surf sound to “Maria Informs/Outmaneuvered”.

Then it’s electric bass guitar for “Message from Maudie/McLeod Catches Cole”, another slow-burn suspense piece that would have worked well in an episode of Danger Man as well as here.

Staggered ascending lines begin “The Farewell”, which also gets a lot of milesge out of the percussive capabilities of the electric guitar.

Action music writing bubbles up in “Bugle Call/Shootout”, which is about energetic horns and more relaxed strings.

The main theme gets a reprise for the “El Dorado Finale”, followed by two alternates for the same theme.