The CD for the quirky Sci Fi Channel series is bookended by Mark Mothersbaugh and John Enroth's brief theme, but the real meat lies in the themes and short dramatic suites culled from episodes largely scored by Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, Rest Stop), a composer who's really provided some refreshing sounds for TV and feature films (not to mention direct-to-video fodder like Wrong Turn 2: Dead End).
Networks like predictable, easy to digest sounds, but If a series is allowed to evolve in spite of some odd directions chosen by its creators, it's a fair bet the composer(s) will make use of the extra wiggle room and come up with some very clever ideas.
La-La Land 's CD shows McCreary in a very lofty light. A great example is “Sheriff Carter's Theme,” which has multiple facets: building on a skittering rhythmic pattern, McCreary twists it into a march that begins like an eighties videogame (via cheesy retro-electro chirps) and develops into a cynical jaunt, with fat electric bass, electro-harmonica and woodwind emulations, and a great vocal groaning from a gravel-voiced male, the latter nicely evoking the fatigue and mounting impatience of a disciplined peace officer forced to address the needs of eccentric nerds.
“Prehistoric Love Spores” is indicative of the album's fast-moving action cues, and contains some great dynamics: the density of guitar strums drench the corresponding scene with a potent kineticism, and a noodling bass provides some wry commentary, as well as augmenting the cue's tension.
Acoustic guitars (a strong presence in McCreary's horror scores) also have multiple functions, as in the pensive guitar and strings piece “Harry Theme,” and the Spanish-flavored “The Mask of Fargo,” with clacking castanets, solo trumpet, and retro-synth bass. The use of old-style synths provides comedy as well as a link to the dawn of broad geekdom during the late seventies and early eighties when personal computers, video games, and consumer-level instruments produced some very iconic sounds.
The album's guitar-heavy cues are also balanced by some soft and gentle pieces with woodwinds, strings, and soothing synth tones, as in “When You Wish Upon Falling Debris,” or the gushy, sappy “Allison's Theme,” which is quite tender, but also evokes the saccharine love themes often applied to the babe in classic eighties comedies. “When You Wish” is more successful in conveying earnest sensitivity, and itssoothing tempo is very slow, and broken up by extended rests periods.
The album also contains a song – the ditsy “Let's Get Hitched” – and the bopping “EurekAerobics,” with its droning synth chords, and Jan Hammer keyboard tones that percolate over the cue's thudding rhythm-and-breath beats.
Few of the show's character themes develop into anything extensive, and they do share similar instrumentation, but at 76 mins., the CD isn't repetitive, and manages to unfold like a single dramatic episode, making for a satisfying listen, and a hook that ought to draw novices to the show's weird little world.
© 2008 Mark R. Hasan