Follow Us on Twitter

Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story – OST Review

Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story OST

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

The long-awaited soundtrack album by Sarah McGuinness for the Emmy-nominated Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story is a mixed affair – as lively, flamboyant and eclectic as befits its subject, yet probably best suited to those who have seen the film.

Like the film, the soundtrack spans five decades and reflects many of the genres of the times, from ‘60s radio jingle, glam-rock, disco, ‘80s synth-pop and electronic.

The film’s theme tune, Mama Can You See Me Now, also crops up several times, having been re-modelled throughout the film to reflect these different genres.

Taken as a whole, the soundtrack was produced by Mickey Petralia (Flight Of The Conchords) and written and performed by Sarah McGuinness, whose recent credits include scoring Jake West’s Whacked and Paul Hills’ Secrets. McGuinness has also scored the music and created the distinctive opening sequences for Izzard’s more recent tours – which makes her more than qualified for the task at hand.

She was subsequently inspired by film composers such as John Barry and Lalo Schifrin, as well as musical influences from her youth, whether that be Bowie or Iggy Pop or The Velvet Underground.

The ensuing soundtrack is comprised of 14 tracks, as well as some samples of Izzard performing stand-up, that should be a welcome treat for fans of the actor and comedian especially. Unlike some film soundtracks, however, it doesn’t really qualify as a stand-alone work in its own right, as the enjoyability factor probably hinges more specifically on whether you’re either a fan of Izzard or seen the film (or both).

In spite of this ‘failing’, McGuinness has nevertheless managed to fashion an LP that’s never less than fascinating and which does pay some useful nods to the acts which inspired it.

The opening musical arrangement Who’s Eddie?, in particular, is a snappy slice of horn-infused funk that channels the memory of Lalo Schifrin and David Holmes (especially his Ocean’s soundtrack work, of which Izzard has been a part of!), while early versions of Mama Can You See Me Now? are fun and befitting a big show with glam rock elements.

Arabia drops some nice African influences to really heighten the diversity inherent in the first few tracks, while there’s almost a surreal, British sit-com soundtrack vibe to the Sixties Jingle Mama, which is almost impossibly kitsch.

But McGuinness, as vocalist, really comes into her own on the French spoken Assez Pour Moi, which combines cute harmonies with a blistering electric guitar riff, and on the sleek Soho Nights, as composer, which contains a sexual vibe befitting the decadence inherent in its name.

Alas, in between, the soundtrack takes a detour into ‘80s territory, which feels a little over-worked at present and pretty ordinary.

The album draws to a close with at least two more re-workings of Mama, a demo version of Believe and another highlight, Stripped 2010, which contains a hip vibe missing for some of the LP’s middle section. It’s a celebratory way to bring things to a finale.

But even then, the suspicion remains that you’re better equipped to enjoy this particular selection if you’ve seen and loved the movie.

Download picks: Who’s Eddie? Mama Can You See Me Now (Original Version), Arabia, Soho Nights, Stripped 2010

Track listing:

  1. Who’s Eddie?
  2. Mama Can You See Me Now (Original Version)
  3. Arabia
  4. Sixties Jingle Mama
  5. Assez Pour Moi
  6. Sheffield ‘82
  7. Disintegration
  8. Eighties Mama
  9. American Dream
  10. Soho Nights
  11. Stripped 2010
  12. Mama Ballad
  13. Mama Can You See Me Now (Mickey Petralia Mix)
  14. Believe (Demo)