01/10/2008. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin
pub: La- La Land Records LLLCD 1076. 28 tracks 77 minutes. Price: £11.99 (UK).
check out websites: www.lalalandrecords.com and www.scifi.com/eureka
Bear McCreary has carved a solid reputation for TV soundtracks from his dark, brooding scores to the re-made 'Battlestar: Galactica'. Over four series McCreary provided a thrilling backdrop to the space opera, mixing Indian sitar, rock guitar and tribal drums into more traditional string compositions.
His music takes another turn in this soundtrack to 'Eureka', the first season of which aired on the American SciFi Channel in 2006. A third series has recently begun showing. 'Eureka' or 'A Town Called Eureka' as it is known in the UK, is set in a town inhabited entirely by geniuses working on inventing new gadgets and technology for the US government.
Jack Carter, the lead character, is a man much less gifted than some of the other inhabitants who stumbles across the town in the first series and finds himself pressed into service as the sheriff. His less intellectual background leads to him finding some silly but effective ways of solving crises when the town's inventions inevitably backfire.
Having not watched the show, I wasn't sure what to expect of the soundtrack. It's the sign of a good composition that I can tell what the mood and feel of the show will be. The music is at times thoughtful and reflective but mostly fun and quirky, evocative of the crazy geniuses the town portrays.
As a CD the work isn't as listenable as McCreary's work on 'Battlestar: Galactica', which provided a number of epic action scenes and out of the cockpit, perfect for building crescendos and sweeping scores. The 'Eureka' soundtrack has all the skill and craft, but many of the songs are more backdrop than foreground. I can see them working well in the show itself but I can't imagine myself listening to many of the tracks very often, unlike the composer's previous work.
There are still a few tracks where McCreary's excellent haunting drums and strings come into play but they are interspersed with many lighter arrangements that lessen the effect. One of my favourite riffs is on 'The Heathers' but it's a song only forty seconds long. Most of the other songs have bits I like but other bits which are a bit too twee for me to avoid grating my teeth a little.
'Eureka' seems like a fun show and the soundtrack matches its quirky premise. I think if I were watching the show it would seem perfectly in synch with what was happening on screen but as a standalone piece of music it's just a little bit too cheery to be anything more than a curio for devotees of the show.
Tomas L. Martin
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