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.