“Mike Patton’s stylish but meandering score doesn’t save this album standing up”
“The Place Beyond The Pines” (2013)
Music By Mike Patton
Milan Records CD M236626
17 Tracks/Disc Time: 57:44
“The Place Beyond The Pines” was an ambitious thriller that was released earlier this year with mostly good reviews, but quickly disappeared soon afterwards after a successful box office run. The film revolves around the mysterious motorcycle racer named Luke, (Ryan Gosling) who drives out of a traveling carnival globe of death and whizzes through the backstreets of Schenectady, New York. He desperately tries to reconnect with his former lover, Romina, (Eva Mendes) who secretly gave birth to the stunt rider’s son. In an attempt to provide for his new family, Luke quits the carnival life and commits a series of bank robberies aided by his superior riding ability. As the stakes rise quickly with one robbery after the next, Luke is put on a dead on collision course with an ambitious police officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), who’s looking to quickly move up the ranks in a police department riddled with corruption. The film unfolds over a fifteen year period as each character combats their personal sins that haunt the present days lives of these two men. The film was directed by Derek Cianfrance, who directed the controversial but criticially acclaimed “Blue Valentine” which also starred Gosling with Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams. The film also co-stars Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Field of Dreams), Dane DeHaan (Lawless) and Rose Byrne (Damages). The film will make its DVD and Blu-Ray debut sometime this summer.
The stylish, action-thriller had the backing of a score by Mike Patton, who was the lead singer for the group “Faith No More” and wrote the frenetic, electronic charged stylings in the further adventures of Jason Statham in “Crank: High Voltage”, which was a score that went over extremely well with his fans and fans of the film. For “Place Beyond The Pines”, he wrote a moody, Western styled score featuring a rocking, twingy like electric guitar which actually quite work and are the best part of this score mixed in with pulsing electronic work that remind soundtrack fans of scores such as Tangerine Dream’s “Thief” and “Elliot Goldenthal’s “Heat” along with an angelic like chorus, that I personally found unusual for a score for a film such as this one. “Schenectady”, is the opening track of the album that opens with that cool guitar motif and pulsing beats of Patton’s electronics.
“Misremembering” is a pulsing electronic track that does sound much like Tangerine Dream’s pulsing work mixed with Goldenthal’s style and perhaps that’s not accidental because a great deal of this score is somewhat similar to their work. The track features that cool Western guitar motif that is the primary signature of the score. Patton involves that lovely sampled chorus in the tracks “Family Trees”, “Beyond The Pines” and “Evergreen” which are quite pretty lush and pretty that evokes the “Agnes Dei” sound that Goldenthal used in “Alien 3”. These tracks are the best highlights of the album. “Handsome Luke” is definitely a Goldenthal and Tangerine Dream inspired track with a shrill, electronic sound that featured distorted noise samples and prepared piano. It’s somewhat of a grating track at first, but gets better with its’ nice choral finish.
The album is padded out by source songs that are featured in the film such as the 50’s sounding ballad “Please Stay” by The Cryin’ Shames, the classical pieces “Miserere Mei” by Vladimir Ivanoff and “Fratres For Strings And Percussion” by Arvo Part and a nice Ennio Morricone piece “Ninna Nanna Per Adulteri” which actually do quite work well with Patton’s score. I have a few problems with this score in that the direction of it seems off to me in the sense that a film like this would feature a score that is kind of off kilter. Then again, I’ve heard off kilter scores that have worked considerably better than this one. Patton does demonstrate a gift for mixing electronics and instrumention very well, but scores such as this one don’t always suit well with soundtrack fans. Milan’s album is well produced and is solid sonically, but I can’t quit recommend it because despite its’ 30 minutes of score and a few tracks that really stood out, I don’t think it warrants repeat visits for me personally. Others might think differently about it and fans of Mike Patton’s work especially. Thumbs down, but with some affection.