Off the top of my head, I’d say you’re looking at a Boesky, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros, and a Leon Spinks. Not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever.
In other words, Danny Ocean and his merry band of hipster hoodlums are back, and Twelve is the new Eleven. They’ve got the clothes, the cons and the cool. All they need to complete the charm offensive is a loaded deck of lounge tunes, courtesy of DJ, producer and composer David Holmes and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.
The soundtrack to Ocean’s Twelve is their third collaboration, following Out of Sight’s soundscape of 70s blaxploitation funk and gritty crime movie riffs, blended seamlessly with Dean Martin and the Isley Brothers, and Ocean’s Eleven’s cocktail of Rat Pack ring-a-ding and slick ambient groove, sweetened with a jigger of Elvis and a shot of De La Soul.
Seeing as Soderbergh’s new caper movie moves away from the corrupt canyons of Vegas and inhabits the cities of Europe, Holmes has been successfully digging through the crates searching for a more suitably Eurocentric vibe as the backdrop for a bit of lovable larceny.
So, what does that mean in terms of the music itself? Well, we get a broad range of fashionably Eurotrashy elevator muzak, taking in everything from Hammond organs to harpsichords, an armoury of percussion with a heavy serving of bongos, enough strings to garrotte an orchestra, slap-and-pop bass, screaming horns, and I’m almost positive I heard a theremin on there somewhere.
Inevitably, it’s a mixed bunch of tracks taken out of context without the pictures to go with the sounds, from highlights like Yellow Hammer’s evocative and mellifluous ‘Lazy’ to the retrogroove of John Schroeder’s implausibly-titled ‘Explosive Corrosive Joseph’, which conjures up images of Austin Powers girning in a faux Carnaby Street, or Antoine de Caunes bouncing around in front of a garish day-glo background.
Holmes’s own original compositions are as taut and funky as ever, and never sound out of place when pushed up against the archive cuts he’s found for the soundtrack, with the whole package infused with a very Italian sound, stacking up favourably in comparison with the best of Lalo Schifrin and Ennio Morricone. Unlike the previous two Holmes-Soderbergh albums, Ocean’s Twelve for the first time dispenses with the continuous fades interspersed with soundbites of dialogue from the films, opting for a solid set of complete tracks unhindered by overlapping songs or abrupt endings. A wilfully cheesy bit of fun, then, and a neat collection of Music to Rob Casinos By.
6Anthony Antoniou's Score