Original Music by Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury
There doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground when you talk to people about Ben Wheatley’s films (Kill List, A Field In England, High Rise, et al). Generally, you either love them or you hate them. Whatever side you’re on, you’re probably aware that the cinematic provocateur has a new film out this week. If not, it’s called Free Fire. It stars Brie Larson, Sharlto Copely, Armie Hammer and Cillian Murphy. And it follows the violent aftermath of a gun deal gone wrong. Very wrong. So wrong that a shoot out erupts between the rival gangs involved … all in the claustrophobic confines of a deserted Boston warehouse. That setup promises a veritable orgy of bloody gun play and kinetic, character driven action.
By many accounts, that’s exactly what Wheatley delivers. He turns to Ex-Machina composing duo Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury to score the madness of Free Fire. The pair comes through with a manic collection of ‘70s fueled compositions. They kick the mania into action with a raucus, Grand Funk flavored rocker in ’Sledgehammer Cracks Nuts’, follow it with the sultry, percussive soul of ‘Dock Beat’ and, well, they never look back. The songs that follow trip from classic western themes like ‘First Shot’ to the epic, prog-rock horror of ‘The Phone Rings’ with uncommon dexterity.
Along the way, Barrow & Salisbury even find time for an acid-jazzy exploration of sound in ‘Lead Lobotomy’ and a psychedelic exploration of sonic anxiety in ‘Leary’. Somehow the pair manage to keep the disparate styles of their songs in tune with the film’s frenzied energy. They even manage to tie them altogether in the album’s strongest track ‘We Can’t All Be Nice Girls’. The less I say about that song the better. You won’t believe it until you hear it anyway. Promise me that you will, ‘cause it’s insane in all the best ways. Just like Wheatley’s film.
Free Fire hits theaters this Friday (April 22). It’s required viewing for Wheatley fans and novices alike, so see that you get your butts to the theater. And see that you give the film’s killer original soundtrack a listen as well. But be warned, there’s a ton of dialogue from the film interspersed with Barrow’s & Salisbury’s music. So if you wanna go into the film fresh, you may want to hold off for now. If you do proceed – and if you like what you hear – you can grab your very own digital copy over at iTunes. Or you can wait until the physical release (CD only for now) from Lakeshore Records on May 5. And if you like, you can sample the goods before hand right here. All you gotta do is push play.