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Alex Turner's Filmic Debut: Submarine Soundtrack

20th March 2011

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Submarine is the new film from first-time director Richard Ayoade, most famous for his character work in television shows The Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd, but also a man with a strong resume behind the camera as well. He may not have directed a feature film before Submarine but has worked extensively in the music video scene, with Kasabian, Vampire Weekend and the Arctic Monkeys to name a few of the acts he’s worked alongside.

It is the Monkeys, in fact, that have propelled him to the top of the list of exciting-new-British-directors, with his work on the unique and edgy At the Apollo live DVD remaining a highlight of his career thus far. It is no surprise, then, that Ayoade turned to Artic Monkey's frontman Alex Turner for the score of his first ‘proper’ film.

But, what can we expect from Submarine's soundtrack? Is the six-track collection just a movie score? An Alex Turner solo work? A hint at what the Monkey’s own fourth album, Suck it and See, will sound like?

And in essence, it’s all of these things. And more.

Picking up from where Turner left off with The Last Shadow Puppets, Submarine flirts with vintage pop around a languid, romantic rigging, stuck together with the sort of lyrics we’ve come to expect from the Sheffield wordsmith. Heavy on the poetic images, Turner’s particular diction breaks the floaty feel and reminds us all of the pain induced when we’re drowning in our troubles.

Each track is not exactly well defined against the others, but that is no reason for concern. This is a film score after all, and to write six completely different pieces would have been more barbaric than beneficial. That said, it is hard to find one track that sparks out as extraordinary, barring the finale 'Piledriver Waltz' (which, as it shares it’s title with a confirmed track on the Arctic Monkey’s new album, could have been expected to have been the stand-out number). The soundtrack ebbs and flows without too much adventure, with Turner now comfortable in this place of soulful northern romantiscm that’s been there since youthful epic 'A Certain Romance'.

Eloquent and endearing, Submarine is a natural progression for Turner as both an artist and a musical visionary. One only hope he continues to tread the ground so carefully as he has done so far in his career.

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