One of the real strengths of the early Bond films, and I firmly believe a vital factor that helped make them such a success, was the film scores. And Thunderball, Bond's fourth on screen outing, was no exception. I would go so far as to say that I consider the score to be superior to the film itself.
The music is wonderfully evocative. Usually dark and suspenseful, hinting at the dark forces surrounding Bond that he is unaware of, and occasionally breaking out into a more sweeping and up tempo theme as the film erupts into sudden violence.
The Thunderball theme (track 7, not the theme song) is a beautiful piece of orchestral jazz, the motif itself is malleable and recurs throughout the CD to suggest various moods. Just listen to how it sounds in track 8, `Death Of Fiona', as it is made more uptempo to suit the nightclub setting, building to a crescendo then suddenly stopping and returning to the light theme as the deed is done. It's fascinating how one simple theme can be used to say so much.
Famous for its underwater sequences, there are several themes for this which have been cleverly orchestrated to suggest that you are hearing the orchestra from under water. It's subtly done, just a suggestion, and works beautifully.
It's a most evocative soundtrack that not only suits the action and sets the tone perfectly, but is eminently listenable in isolation from the film, he sign of a truly great soundtrack.
The score also boasts a belting vocal from Tom Jones, which rivals Matt Monroe's `From Russia With Love' as one of my favourite Bond theme songs.
This CD release contains 6 previously tracks that bring the album length to an impressive 79 minutes. They fix the omission of the famous Gunbarrel theme from the original album, and in general really add to the album. The sound is clear and sharp, the remastering is a treat. There is a short booklet with some notes about the film and music, and a few stills from the film.
A great release of a great album.