Spoiler of sorts: when you go to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (and you really should – it’s one of the most riotously fun, singularly bizarre blockbusters of recent summers), be sure to pack earplugs. The Edgar Wright-directed adaptation of the graphic novel series is one of the loudest films I’ve seen/heard in years. The fight scenes aren’t short and sharp because the special effects budget couldn’t stretch to any more flaming techno dragons or telekinetic ridiculousness; they’re brief because if they went on any longer every inner ear in the audience would explode.
The movie’s accompanying soundtrack begins in such a voluminous style – Sex Bob-Omb’s sort-of-self-titled number roars and swaggers, half Death From Above 1979 fury, half Mudhoney grunge vibes. The song – performed by actors Michael Cera, Mark Webber and Alison Pill during the opening titles – is written by Beck, and the scatty pop maverick-cum-weirdo scientologist isn’t the only big name from the indie scene to contribute to the in-picture bands’ material. Broken Social Scene step away from their grandiose guitar symphonies to pen numbers for battle-of-the-bands gloom-merchants Crash and the Boys: I’m So Very Very Sad and We Hate You, Please Die. It’s not giving much away to confirm that they don’t get very far in the competition.
Also offering material for assimilation by fictional rockers are Metric. The Canadians’ Black Sheep is performed in the movie by Clash at Demonhead, fronted by Scott’s pre-Knives-and-Ramona ex, Natalie ‘Envy’ Adams (played by real-life recording artist Brie Larson). It’s fairly typical Metric fare – instantly catchy and likeable but fairly hollow in the long term. The same can’t be said for Broken Social Scene’s soppy indie classic, Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl – a million stylistic miles away from their cuts for Crash and the Boys, it’s stood the test of fickle fashionista time superbly since its original 2002 release.
The clutch of songs performed by make-believe bands are complemented well by a supporting cast including Blood Red Shoes, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and The Bluetones – surely this is the only time these acts will appear on the same album. The former’s blistering It’s Getting Boring by the Sea excellently encapsulates the film’s attention-deficit pace and tumultuous charm: it’s got a direction, a purpose, but the way it gets there is deliciously wild. And, come the climax, everything’s feeling a little fuzzy.
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