Creating a soundtrack to a film can be a tricky thing. While trying to connect characters, scenes and moods, it’s also up the musicians to make it sound interesting at the same time. That was the task for Mac McCaughan and Portastatic, who put together the scene-setting music for the film Who Loves The Sun.
In only watching the trailer, McCaughan, former member of the beloved Superchunk, seems to match the overall feel of the film and the music he created. In the three minute clip, brother feuded, love was lost and people drank Scotch by the shore of lovely, quiet lake. To match that world isn’t an easy task, but Portastatic has certainly created a soundtrack for sunnier times.
Of the 22 tracks on the album, all less than three minutes, each has a light buoyancy reminiscent of summertime Beach Boys. In fact, most tracks scream for a three part harmony draped on top. Made mostly with warm piano lines, flutes, strings and drums with brushes, the music just glows with a lake-side groove.
With track titles such as Maggie at the Dock, Nice Strums and Last Kiss Music, the vibe sends to the beach at sunset to take in the summer breeze. There is still some more melancholy touches to the soundtrack, songs like the ballad Snake Music or the simple cello lines of Will’s Return, which opens the disc. The song Sunset Rock is reminiscent of arpeggio guitar style of Pinback, covered with a lilting piano line.
It can’t be easy to try and connect the subtlety of acting with the directness of music, but Portastatic pulls it off cleanly. The songs are simple, not overly wrought with complex time signature or dense patterns. Instead the music is direct, allowing itself to be left in the background.
Overall, the music creates a lighter-than-air feeling, making you think of the next chance you can get out of the city to set by the water and take it all in. McCaughan has recently finished score for the 1927 silent film The Unknown as well. If its and solid as this collection, it will definitely be worth checking out.