Few of 2009′s cinematic experiences were as visually fascinating as the brilliant inventiveness behind Bunny and The Bull. Sneaking in under most people’s radars at the tail end of the year, the film was an indie Pandora’s box of ideas which will hopefully receive cult hit status when it’s finally released to a wider audience on DVD.
Made by the production team behind The Mighty Boosh, the film takes the series’ distinctive style and unleashes it on the big screen. It’s fair to say that whoever was given the task of composing the soundtrack would also have to fit in with the wild gumbo of ideas on offer. Step forward then Ralfe Band.
Headed by the eponymous Oly Ralfe, the band have shown plenty of promise, having recorded two albums, contributed to Mojo Magazine’s recent re-workings of The Wall and Abbey Road and gained exposure from DJs Rob Da Bank and Mark Riley. Their style is best described as eccentric gypsy infused folkadelia and so they appear to have been the natural choice for what is probably the only tragi-comic expressionist bromance road movie ever made.
It was inevitable that director Paul King’s vision was going to outfox many traditional film composers; the wild mix of styles and moods take place in the context of a hazily remembered road trip through Eastern Europe leading eventually to Spain to meet the destiny promised by the film’s title. Thankfully the score provided seems to fit the demands from the film like one of Cinderella’s slippers.
The instrumentals never shy away from the film’s leftfield sense of humour. There are hints of travelling circuses, Machiavellian Victorian gents sinisterly twirling moustaches and bizarre booze-fuelled continental jaunts sitting shoulder to shoulder with the musak hell of the world’s worst tourist destination, the dreaded Shoe Museum.
Film soundtracks are always a difficult beast. For every soundtrack that works as an album in its own right, there are several that, no matter how good the music is, don’t seem to work in LP form as well as they do on the silver screen. Bunny And The Bull leans towards the latter with its 22 tracks, clocking in at an average of two minutes each. This is no crime since the music is supposed to be for a film and not necessarily for listening at home, but a lot of what’s here is so enjoyable that you can’t help but feel frustrated when the highlights get cut short. By way of compensation there are a few songs to feed your appetite, the shimmeringly hypnotic Snow Song being a wonderful example.
This is a great score, but these short musical morsels don’t work as an album when collected. This is really a marketing gripe rather than a musical one and you’ll find there is more than enough here to make you want to seek out more about Ralfe Band and await their next move with welcome curiosity; until then you should consider this an Amuse Bouche rather than a Mighty Boosh.