Belgica (Original Soundtrack)

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The gist Soulwax return, in a way, with the soundtrack to Belgica The music Belgica, a new film by Oscar-nominated director Felix Van Groeningen, is about 2 brothers who get caught up in the Belgian nightclub scene. Soulwax stand in for all of the bands and DJs featured in the film, creating a new sound and image for each. It seems like the prefect cover for a band like this to satisfy all of their creative cravings on one record?. Just skip through the tracks here and you might find yourself noting "that sounds like a Soulwax song", "that sounds like a out-take from Nite Versions", or "that sounds like an obscure cut from a 2ManyDJs set". But there are a few red herrings thrown in over the course of these 16 songs. "Hot December" by Light Bulb Matrix is a beach front dubby hoot and Robert Vanderwiel's "Nine Thousand Eyes" sounds EXACTLY like something from Air's Virgin Suicide's OST. Sensibly perhaps, a good selection of the music on this "compilation" sticks to what many consider to be the Dewaele brothers' most successful guise: the electro/Nite Versions guise. Take White Virgins' "Turn The Lights Off", you'd be forgiven for thinking that your preferred listening device had actually fucked up and put Nite Versions on instead. And I'm not saying this is just a lazy retread, I'm saying its a good thing. It takes what they do best and does it in a slightly different way. These electro tunes are generously interspersed with rock, soul, funk, and moody instrumentals in a way that means you can never really settle into the album as a whole. It doesn't help that some of the guitar driven tracks on the album are slightly stale. It may well be that many of these songs are supposed to sound a bit dodgy or cheesy (They Live - "The Cookie Crumbles" is probably the worst offender), I suppose listening to the music in the context of the film will prove that one way or the other. All I can do is judge this collection as an album in its own right, and it's a bit of a hodge-podge affair. Don't get me wrong, some of the guitar stuff is good, take the alt-country "Don't Wait Up For Me", which briefly sounds like Michael Gira's Angels of Light have entered the room (it's actually by "Roland McBeth" whoever that may be). A great tune.  You've just got to get used to that fact that this is an album where comical rock numbers sit next to atmospheric instrumental pieces (the pre mentioned "The Cookie Crumbles" is literally sitting right next to the wonderful "Cybernetic Permutations In The Key Of A"). In fact, towards the end of the LP there are a number of these atmospheric works which often utilise Soulwax's trademark ear for euphoric electronica and you kind of forget the the dreary rock numbers ever existed. A fickle old album. Listen to Danyel Galaxy - "Cybernetic Permutations In The Key Of A" - Probably the sort of thing that would feature on a standard soundtrack if the band weren't constrained by the "create a load of fake bands" remit. This is the sound of a band free to create something more focussed. Burning Phlegm - "Nothing" - Igor Cavalera brings a bit of vitriol to this, perhaps the most competent "rock" number of the record. Suitably, for the pseudonym he's going under, he spits his way through the track, which starts off as a rather puny Strokes-like tune and morphs into something slightly more worthy of the metal genre (although Sepultura fans will think it's more like Herb Alpert).