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Published: 2003/11/28
by Chris Gardner

Lead Us Not Into Temptation – David Byrne

Thrill Jockey Records 138

It seems in some way disingenuous to critique a soundtrack in isolation.

Much soundtrack music needs the visual to give it a sense of place, but this

mostly instrumental set stands so well on its own that one rather suspects

that the music gives the film, Young Adam, its sense of place. At

any rate, it stands enough apart that it deserves its own name. _Lead Us

Not Into Temptation_ begins with bold, sweeping strings, piano or Rhodes,

and percussion. It builds outward, incorporating rich washes of electric

and steel guitars that seem to extend the canvass, leaving the music

spacious and open. A moody, almost pensive, dignity hovers over the album.

Each note seems a conscious and careful choice. Despite pervasive droning

and a real sense of gravity, the music's weight never feels oppressive. It

is moody without being down, somber without being sedative, gloomy without

being depressing. Aside from a brief, swaggering take on Mingus' "Haitian

Fight Song," these songs inhabits the night, or at least the severely foggy.

Voices decorate the final two tracks, the first of which finds Byrne

garbling the lyrics in a double-tracked, nearly drugged delivery that

maintains exactly the mood and spirit of the proceedings, which often seem

to move in beautiful slow-motion as the world zips by.

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