Monday, November 03, 2008

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (CD) – EMI 

For the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Nick Cave and Bad Seed violinist Warren Ellis have collaborated to create a reserved, but deeply beautiful soundtrack. The first thing soundtracks usually prove guilty of is bombast, but there’s none of that to be had here. Instead, Assassination opens with "Rather Lovely Thing," offering tender fiddle against piano, not much else, and conjuring the melancholy beauty you’d expect upon seeing Cave or Ellis’s name attached to anything. “Last Ride to KC” follows later with deep cello sawing gently against a constant buzz of violin. Simple piano and violin provide most of the instrumentation on other standout tracks like “Moving On” and “Song for Jesse,” too. So, what are we to make of the fact that two Aussies forged the soundtrack for a movie about such an iconic American figure? Well, Cave is no stranger to the genre, having penned his own outback Western, The Proposition. He and Ellis produced the soundtrack for that film, too. Next up? Cave and Ellis are working on a soundtrack for the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It’s hard to imagine two men better suited for the job. – Robert Stribley

This review was originally published in Skyscraper Magazine, Issue 28 (Summer 2008)

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