The Polyphonic Spree, Elliott Smith - Thumsucker OST

Mike Mantin 24/10/2005

Rating: 3/5

Mike Mills (the music promo director, not the bespectacled R.E.M. bassist)'s first film comes, impressively, with a soundtrack of new music by the Polyphonic Spree and a couple by Elliott Smith, who sadly died before he could complete any more. Like his recent farewell album 'From A Basement On A Hill', keeping this in mind makes his three contributions, the highlight of which is a beautiful cover of Big Star's 'Thirteen' even more poignant. The Smith tracks punctuate a bouncy album which is exactly what you'd expect a Polyphonic Spree film score to sound like: plenty of ooh-ing, aah-ing and la-ing, honking brass everywhere and a sense of fun that makes it impossible not to grin while you're listening.

Unfortunately, there are only a couple of fully-realised songs amongst the instrumentals and vocal workouts: there's the Technicolor 'Move Away And Shine', which is better than anything off their last album, plus a couple of surprises. 'Wonderful For You', despite being far too short, finds the Spree's leader Tim DeLaughter alone with a guitar, singing a sweet ballad worthy of Elliott Smith (appropriately). 'Acceptance', meanwhile, is a hypnotic, 30-minute guitar riff. Hopefully that hasn't put you off because, while I've no idea what the film's like, the combination of the Spree's anarchic joy and Smith's lonely balladry make this a rarity: a film score worth having in your collection.