Album: Various artists

Lost in Translation Soundtrack (Emperor Norton)
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The Independent Culture

This soundtrack to the new Sofia Coppola film, starring Bill Murray, is of interest mainly for its inclusion of the first new material in 13 years from My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields. To be honest, it's a rather underwhelming return for Shields, though the half-formed manner of fragments such as "Goodbye" (gently resonant guitar tones) and "Ikebano" (guitar arpeggios over synth whine) may be due to their function as background music. His "City Girl" is less amorphous, but no more satisfying, being the sort of routine indie rock once purveyed by Dinosaur Jr, just a few grunge chords and the lyric "City girl you're beautiful, I love you, yes I do", with none of the sonic adventurism of My Bloody Valentine, an opinion confirmed by the inclusion of their bliss-rocker "Sometimes". Shields' final track, "Are You Awake?" is the most unusual, an electro-pop piece featuring glacial keyboard echoes and puttering drum-machine: nice, but hardly a giant step forward. Soundscapers Squarepusher, Sebastien Teller, Air and Death In Vegas offer similarly unimposing incidental music, and there's a hidden track of Bill Murray's karaoke version of Roxy Music's "More Than This", if you're an aficionado of celebrity follies.

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