Nick Cave/Warren Ellis 

The Proposition, Mute Records

Even the most memorable soundtracks are often so reliant on a film’s visuals that it’s difficult to appreciate them as independent works of art. One can hardly hear Williams’ Jaws theme or Newman’s American Beauty score without picturing a giant shark or a libidinous Mena Suvari. This makes Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score for The Proposition something of an anomaly. Alternately lush and sparse, the disc is a patchwork of western acoustics that, not knowing Cave and Ellis are Australian, one might be tempted to call Americana. The album features standout Cave vocals on ‘Gun Thing’ and ‘Down to the Valley’, a traditional song about impermanence and death. Longtime Cave collaborator and Dirty Three frontman Ellis also treads some familiar musical ground, lending the album sweeping, pastoral violin lines that will leave Dirty Three fans fulfilled in a way that classic Cave worshippers might not be. While a few of the album’s tracks seem limbless and hollow without visual accom
paniment this is one soundtrack that remarkably manages to stand on legs of its own.


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