Punch Drunk Love - Original Score by Jon Brion

This isn't the first time multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion and writer / director Paul Thomas Anderson have worked together. They have both collaborated on "Magnolia" for which Brion was nominated for a Grammy and Anderson's directorial debut "Hard Eight". Brion has also worked with Peter Gabriel, Fiona Apple and Tom Petty. He's released a solo alum and is currently working on his second. The movie "Punch Drunk Love" stars Adam Sandler and Emily Watson and is an unusual, dark, disturbing romantic comedy which was chosen as the centre piece film in the New York Film Festival.

Soundtrack albums featuring an original score from a composer don't always work if a) you haven't seen the film or b) what can work in the context of the film doesn't always have the same impact when listened to separately. I haven't seen Punch Drunk Love so I can't say if the music works for the movie, so I have to listen to the music for the first time and review it on it's own merits.

"Punchy Tack Piano" is a lilting, mesmerizing, melancholic rag time type piano piece with a subtle orchestral backing which while brief is charming and rather quirky. "He Needs Me" is performed by the actress Shelly Duval who was in "The Shining" and "Time Bandits". Simplistic in structure, this has a child like innocence. The orchestra adds a touch of drama although lyrically it's a touch repetitive if likeable. "Waikiki" is a country ballad performed by Ladies K. This has the classic country sound one would associate with Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette. It's easy listening, moving and full of lush harmonies. "Third Floor Hallway" is a wonderfully arranged orchestral delight. It's slowly alluring and seductively sincere.

This is an album which doesn't always work, but when it does it's just simply divine. And once you've seen the film the memories will all come flooding back.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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