Panic in Year Zero! - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD Review

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Reviewed by Chris McEneany, 8th January 2010
A score with, perhaps, a slightly limited appeal, Les Baxter's evocative Panic In Year Zero is still a great addition to the ever-swelling ranks of suddenly unearthed musical treasures that have been buried for so long that many have since forgotten all about them. Ray Milland's movie is small-scale but concerned with BIG issues, intimate but played out against one of the most colossal and emotive of dramatic hooks. For those of you enamoured with the “wasteland chic” of The Road and The Book Of Eli, it is well worth seeking out this early incarnation of the theme. In some ways, Baxter's score makes the apocalypse hip and vibrant but, in so doing, it also helped to bring the dire consequences of such a calamity home to many more people than it may, otherwise, have reached.

Not only “of the time” but weirdly deconstructing it in the same breath, the jazz from this small ensemble rides out the inter-personal storm and provides an unstoppable and infectious momentum that works superbly in the film and as a crazily toe-tapping musical escapade on album as well. La-La Land, once again, come up with the goods and prove themselves to be a label that can not only support much-loved, well-known and oft-requested soundtracks (Innerspace, Extreme Prejudice, Big Trouble In Little China, Mars Attacks! etc) but also the smaller, less familiar entries from composers who took their work just as seriously as the bigger names, such as Laurence Rosenthal's The Island Of Dr. Moreau (reviewed separately), the joint effort for Batman: Gotham Knight, Akira Ifakube's King Kong Vs Godzilla and Barry DeVorzon's Night Of The Creeps.

Les Baxter's Panic In Year Zero certainly grows on you, and is well recommended.

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