Some Days Are Better Than Others OST

04.26.11; Temporary Residence Ltd.

Portlander Matthew McCormick’s feature film debut—the aptly titled Some Days Are Better Than Others— is a bleak character-driven look at the pitfalls of life, the passage of time and the fallacious inventions people create in order to cope with it all.  The film is centered on the lives of four characters— Eli, Katrina, Camille and Otis—played by James Mercer (The Shins), Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia), Renee Roman Nose and David Wodehouse, respectively. Some Days’ dreary subject matter and drab blue-grey visuals call for sonic elements that emphasize rather than overpower each moment; therefore, it is no surprise that McCormick tapped ambient musician Matthew Cooper to score the original soundtrack. Cooper is best known for his Eluvium moniker, under which he has been steadily releasing albums and garnering acclaim since 2003.

Some Days Are Better Than Others focuses more on tone than arc—and its soundtrack appropriately follows suit.  Cooper has crafted 13 songs—clocking in at just over 35 minutes—that sound more like one continuous drawn-out drone than separate tracks. There are no climactic moments to be found here; the changes in texture and melody are purposefully understated so as to effectively complement the subtle shifts in the film’s mood—sustained hums bleed into whirrs which meld into murmurs. Some tracks reveal glimmers of optimism, others evoke despair—but again, in alignment with the film, any and all feelings have been put through the wash. Cooper does ambience well; the Some Days score demonstrates his understanding of composing for different mediums along with his keen ability to use the visual stimuli he’s given to determine what to offer of himself, and what to hold back. Cooper’s ability to stay true to context is inevitably what prevents the soundtrack from becoming anything more. Some Days’ scenes are too weighed down by melancholia to ever go anywhere of consequence and the ever consistent Cooper has created music that perfectly parallels each scene.

Some Days Are Better Than Others OST succeeds in its mission; it is a well crafted non-stop drone of a soundtrack that effectively binds the threads of emptiness, uncertainty, longing and hope that the film is spun from. But as a stand-alone album it doesn’t hold up; it’s pretty, but lacks the dynamism necessary to keep the listener interested, let alone awake. This is one best reserved for bedtime listening or winding down after a long day’s work.

— By Amanda Gallagher, freelance writer and wearer of many (tiny) hats.


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