Background Music for Background Movie

[rating: 8/10]


Frank Lenz is no stranger to music, in fact he’s played with several bands over several years, tasting both indie acclaim and commercial success. He’d been known primarily as a drummer through the years, but had dabbled in production and other instrumentation. Since 2001, Lenz has been crafting his own tunes and playing all types of different instruments. This new endeavor, however, is something different for Frank… scoring a motion picture from beginning to end.

With no knowledge of the film, it’s still hard not to get a feel for Strictly Background when you listen to Lenz’s soundtrack. Despite the fact that the film is a documentary, I envision it as one with quirky and endearing feel, perhaps akin to non-documentary films like Little Miss Sunshine and I Heart Huckabee’s. Min you, this is strictly speculation, but when I put on the CD and close my eyes, I see a group of people making funny quips and finding a way to love life, all the while being hit over the head with harsh reality all day long. I guess, I’ll have to see the film to find out if this is the case.

Removing my pre-supposed version of the film from the equation, here’s what I like, love, and feel indifferent about when it comes strictly to the soundtrack. There are a few tracks with vocals, these are simply well-crafted pop songs, despite the shortened length of a few of these. My personal favorite track of this type is probably “Getting Older is Getting Bolder.” The track is very reminiscent of the eccentric pop rock of Ben Kweller. The other pop track that I like most is “You Can’t Help Yourself” which has an Elvis Costello feel (download this song for free at Buzz Bands).

Outside of the few pop rock tracks, the rest of the soundtrack is score. The score is not some boring orchestral nonsense, however. Some tracks are 70’s funk influenced, like the straight out of Superbad sound of “Being an Extra”. Other tracks, “Being on Set”, have an indie rock feel, employing a variety of instruments in a somewhat Decemberists type of way. While other tracks divert quite a bit, like the bluegrassy cowboy sound of “Cattle Call”. All of the tracks have their own unique feel, but somehow find a way to create a unifying feeling. And while my assumptions about the movie (as noted above) may be offbase and worthless, I can be certain that the soundtrack to this film reveals that the film will be one that draws you into the lives of some interesting and offbeat characters.

Only two other times in my life can I remember falling for a soundtrack before ever seeing the movie, and both were musicals (the ridiculous Team America and the fun, uplifting Newsies). This one is now the third. Lenz has crafted a beautiful 29 tracks of background music that is sure to make even a mediocre film become a work of art. It’s perfect background music; I expect to be listening to this in my office time and time again.


~ by thepaintedman on June 9, 2009.

One Response to “Background Music for Background Movie”

  1. […] to come. Alongside another recent VBM release, Frank Lenz’s score to the independent film Strictly Background, I can see this album easily becoming a favorite background music CD for me at work and at […]

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