Album Reviews

Cat’s Eyes – The Duke Of Burgundy OST

(RAF) UK release date: 16 February 2015

Cat's Eyes - The Duke Of Burgundy OST So, what Cat’s Eyes have done with The Duke Of Burgundy OST is create the absolute perfect soundtrack for this kind of historical epic. It proves to be a perfect match for the scenes where the Duke trots out into battle on horseback, camera swooping over the green and pleasant lands like a giddy swallow and when the predictable, yet heartwarming romance blossoms between the servant girl and his Most Nobleness deep in the keep.

Wait. What? It’s about what? A maid and her what? Oh. A sado-masochistic lesbian what? Oh. And she does what in her mouth? Oh. But the Duke Of Burgundy? Oh. A kind of moth? She’s a what? Oh. A lepidopter-what? Oh.

So, what Cat’s Eyes have done here is create the absolute perfect soundtrack for this kind of deeply erotic highly stylised piece of contemporary cinema. Only with the kind of instrumentation which makes you believe it’s about time for another renaissance.

Given their debut, soundtracks feel like a very natural progression for Cat’s Eyes, otherwise known as Faris Badwan (of The Horrors) and Rachel Zeffira. Their self-titled first record had a evocative sense of style and sufficient cinematic nudges to make complete sense as a score.

For a certain type of film at least. A film that charts the sadomasochistic relationship between a dominant lepidopterist and her submissive, perhaps. Not Transformers 5. Rather like the debut, The Duke Of Burgundy OST is a tremendously beautiful thing – particularly when Zeffira sings. Badwan’s larynx remains entirely untroubled throughout. A deliberate ploy, they’ve said, given the lack of male characters in the film, it seemed appropriate for him to remain silent. So silent he remains.

Whereas Zeffira’s voice is used sparingly but purposefully. The Opening Credits Song has a delightfully playful gambol to it, that voice fluttering delicately over a harpsichord, while on Requiem For The Duke Of Burgundy she lets rip with the full on soprano over a Mozart indebted backdrop. Even Door No. 2, where she does little more than sigh melodically, has an intoxicating whiff of dark romance to it.

But to be fair, even Cat’s Eyes instrumentals are often more than mere incidentals. Lamplight is gorgeous, all floating textures and sighing strings. The bassoon led Door No. 1 is memorably unusual, while Hautbois makes you utter a sentences which you assumed would remain unsaid: that’s a really nice oboe. And it really is. Full of subtle moments of fragile beauty, this is a lush and sumptuous album. As soundtracks go, it is a very lovely one.

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