Soundtrack albums are an aural companion to the visual aspect of a movie; once one has seen the movie then a reasoned judgement may be reached as to the effectiveness of the soundtrack within the context of the film itself. When one has not seen the movie involved, judgement of the soundtrack has to be administered on its musical merits alone. There have been excellent stand-alone soundtracks, which have become entities in their own right, two examples being The Commitments and The Third Ear Band’s Music from Macbeth, both of which triumph in their “aural companion” role. The Commitments contained a series of gritty interpretations of soul classics and launched a band still playing the festival and club circuits a decade later. The Third Ear Band’s semi-gothic chamber music took on a macabre tone in underscoring Roman Polanski’s grizzly retelling of Shakespeare’s Scottish play.
Evelyn is not born from circumstances befitting either a soul revival or an archaic guts-and-gore fest. Rather it is an example of post 9/11 revival of interest in the human spirit and its innocence. Pierce Brosnan says in the CD note preamble “Within weeks the tragedy of September 11th happened. Paralysis set into the heart of every community and the world. In this time of pain confusion and fear our sights were set in making this special film. I think every man and woman who worked on the project found some comfort from the harsh reality of this terrible time. We were making a film about family, the love and courage it sometimes takes to make a family. The story has a heartfelt meaning to it that we all could relate to and above all else more importantly it had humour.”
The soundtrack music reveals some interesting facts. First off is Van Morrison’s ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ – not the blues song of the same name but an original delivered in his customary smooth gospel soul fusion. Secondly, Pierce Brosnan sings – yes you read right – and reveals himself as a no shame balladeer on ‘The Parting Glass’ and ‘Banks of the Roses’. Several traditionally flavoured pieces feature the music of the Grogan Family. Now whether it’s the Grogans from Dublin led by Tommy Grogan (himself no mean musician) or the Grogans from Scarrif, Co. Clare we are not told, but the music is impressive – maybe we’re talking another Gaelic Storm situation here? The rest of the score composed by Stephen Endleman mixes the right amount of classical/Celtic cum Hollywood ambience – again not having seen the movie I am not in a position to judge its correct juxtaposition, but overall Evelyn is worth listening to for the Grogan Family tracks and Pierce Brosnan’s vocal debut.