‘Arrow’ is an action adventure television series based on the DC Comics character, the Green Arrow. A crime-fighting vigilante who, as his name suggests, is pretty handy with a bow and arrow. I was expecting a dynamic soundtrack to go with this series but at the end of several plays of the CD I felt just a little disappointed.
The music on this CD, 29 tracks in total, has been taken from the 14 plus hours of music actually featured in ‘Arrow’ season 2, so I’d hoped for some good variety. There are two extra tracks not noted by the long river sellers. Unfortunately, the tracks are a little bit repetitious and you can start to predict where a track is going to go after you’ve listened to a few of them. That’s not to say they’re bad, just that when they’re put together on an album, they don’t show off much of a range of instruments or musical patterns.
It sounds like the composer, Blake Neely, has a full orchestra and some decent electronics at his disposal, but the tracks mainly feature very similar repetitive frantic strings with booming brass overlays or rely on simple piano melodies to evoke a calmer feeling. These two styles make up the majority of the tracks, although there’s some great use of percussion from very Eastern sounding hand beaten drums to relentless marching drums.
As a whole, maybe this CD lacks something, but these tracks were designed for use as single pieces to supplement visual action in scenes within the show, so perhaps it’s fairer to look at a few individually.
My personal favourites are ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Tunnel Fight’, which are at the very opposite ends of this album’s range. ‘The Scientist’ is the quirkiest track on the CD and I think I enjoyed and paid attention to it because it is the one track that really deviates from the album’s theme. It’s a whimsical little piece that, when coupled with the title, you can really imagine being played while a scientist is pottering about in his lab. It comes complete with a triumphant, choral sounding discovery moment part-way through and has some nice woodwind highlights.
‘Tunnel Fight’ is, as you might imagine, a fast-paced relentless fight backing. It’s got heavy drumbeats and fast electronic sounds that reminded me in parts of the excellent ‘Blade Runner’ soundtrack by Vangelis. The brass section brings in a goodly dose of sinister before we emerge into furious electronica and really pick up the tempo. It grabs your attention right from the start and keeps grabbing it every time you thought it was safe to turn your ears away.
There are also a couple of nice atmospheric moments hidden away. In ‘Deathstroking/Creating An Army’ there are some disturbingly discordant moments that build into a sinister march and you know that whoever is coming towards you is not going to be friendly! At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Purest Heart’ and ‘I Don’t Blame You Are Sorrowful’ piano ballads that do well in making you pause for a moment.
I don’t think any track from this album will be making it to the top of my playlist but they probably work well with the on-screen action. They’re all quite short and do have a tendency to be a bit samey but if you’re in need an evil theme then there are a few good contenders. However, for me, the test of an album is whether I get the tunes stuck in my head and this doesn’t contain any earworms at all. Nor, considering this is a soundtrack and therefore should add to the emotion of scenes, do I get an emotional response to these tracks in the way I do with a great soundtrack.
Conclusion: Perfectly fine as background music but, unless you’re a die-hard fan of ‘Arrow’, probably not one to sit down and just listen to.
(pub: Water Tower Music. 71 minutes 29 tracks. Price: $13.79 (US), £ 7.99 (UK). ASIN: B00NOZR4OS)
check out website: www.watertower-music.com