How unfortunate would it be if all the furor surrounding the latest Radiohead album eclipsed this new orchestral film score composed by lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood? Those seeking Greenwood's rock sensibilities or the echoes of Radiohead's modernist approach won't find a trace of them here. Devoid of guitar, this score showcases a completely different side of Greenwood, a longtime classical enthusiast and, since 2004, BBC composer-in-residence. Rock fans should, however, also note that this music pulls you in. The album works marvelously well because it's a change of pace and Greenwood's writing is so strong. It isn't necessary to see Paul Thomas Anderson's film to get caught up in the eerie shadows his music casts. By the end of its modest 33 minutes, it will leave you feeling exhausted — in a good way — and transported to another place, the very essence of a successful score. Interestingly, Greenwood generally didn't write for specific scenes, he simply wrote music inspired by the film and the script and let Anderson do the sifting. In spite of the music's generally low-key feel, it's possible that this accounts for its vibrancy and underlying menace. However wary you might be of bringing soundtracks home and listening to them outside their original context, There Will Be Blood is worthy not because of Greenwood's status, but because of his compositional talents.
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