When you actually take a decent look at this filmography, it seems hard to believe the Hans Zimmer is typecast by film music fans. For once, it is Hollywood that has noticed he's a composer for all occasions, it's just those music lovers who only see him as the Media Ventures overlord and purveyor of over loud crap. Although An Everlasting Piece seems like the most unlikely Zimmer project ever, especially since it initially appears to be some low budget movie by some unheard of Irish director. On closer inspection, the film is in fact directed by the rather more famous Barry Levinson, who also seems unwilling to be typecast. He might not have the clout he once did as the director of Avalon, Bugsy or Good Morning Vietnam, but he's still a name to conjure with and An Everlasting Piece got good reviews, even if it was largely overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Levinson's arguments with Dreamworks over the film's politically charged issues relating to Northern Island.
It's not entirely obvious whether The Jigs are an authentic folk group or not, although given that it includes regular Zimmer collaborators Jeff Rona, Heitor Pereira and Patrick Cassidy, amongst others, it seems likely that it's a rather less than authentic ensemble. Still, several of the tracks could be authentic Irish folk tunes, but there is no indication that any of the music is based on real Irish music and there are occasions it's clearly not meant to be all authentic. Repo Man is clearly going for the right kind of feel as a hugely energetic jig that would likely give someone in Riverdance a hernia. Indeed, the general energy level is high as though all the onscreen action is wild farce and everyone is running around like a headless chicken. In fairness, I wonder if a lot of it doesn't function more as source music than pure underscore. It strikes me as the kind of film that requires jollity for the lighthearted parts, but the dramatic episodes are played out without music.
I was going to say that you'd be hard pressed not to enjoy this album, but after a while, the somewhat hyperactive nature becomes a little grating at times. This is especially the case during the clearly more modern sections, which often stretch to some slightly strange vocals that seem to have escaped from American's deep south and electric guitars. However, once a couple of the quiet passages kick in - notably the curiously titled, I'm a Dick - there is a lilting restfulness, even if again, the arrangement for acoustic guitar seems to recall America rather than Ireland. It all depends on your taste for a folksy style of music. It's certainly nothing like anything else by Zimmer, nor is it anything like James Horner's Irish styled efforts, this is all a lot more forward and thrusting than the more genial strains of Clannad, for example. Still, such a high energy level ensures no slow moments - maybe Zimmer should bring in The Jigs to collaborate on his next action score as their almost entirely acoustic ensemble is much more exciting than a bank of synths.
Read other recent reviews by Tom Daish: The Snow Files: The Film Music of Mark Snow
, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad