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The Last Great Wilderness

The Pastels

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Album Review

The Last Great Wilderness is the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. The Pastels provide background music and two songs. Pastels diehards might be disappointed at the lack of vocals (and the fact that one of the two songs, a lilting cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "Everybody Is a Star," is recycled from the Geographic label compilation from 2002) but will still be pleased at the typically affecting sounds found within. The background pieces are mostly short and very atmospheric, showing that the group has a firm grasp on the art of film music composition. Three of the songs ("Winter Driving," "Flora's Theme," and "Flora Again") are brief fragments of eerie vocal loops and bells, while the rest of the pieces are longer and quite nice: "Wilderness Theme" (and "Wilderness End Theme") is a beautiful chiming song full of bells, horns, and wheezing synths, "Vincente's Theme" is a dramatic ballad with a haunting trumpet solo, and "Charlie's Theme is built around humming synth noise, reverbed piano, and gently plucked guitars. Along with the wonderful cover of "Everybody Is a Star," the other "song" here is "I Picked a Flower," featuring the vocals and songwriting acumen of Jarvis Cocker. The song is a bopping, ultra-poppy slice of sunshine that features some typically sleazy Cocker lyrics. The Last Great Wilderness is not an essential Pastels purchase by any means, but it is a nice stopgap between albums and more importantly a solid stab at soundtrack composition.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although virtually unknown outside of indie rock circles, the Pastels were one of the most inspirational and enduring groups of the genre, in their early days spearheading a movement toward a renewed sense of wistful musical primitivism and willful naivete known variously as "shambling" and "anorak pop." In addition, their influence helped bring international notice to a resurgent Scottish musical community, with frontman Stephen Pastel's legendary 53rd and 3rd label helping to launch the careers...
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