I for one really enjoyed Plunkett & Macleane although from what I understand it did very little business in movie theaters and disappeared quickly to DVD. Thank goodness however that at least a CD was released for this underrated film.
If you have heard any of Armstrong's other works such as The Bone Collector or more recently The Incredible Hulk. The album begins with some heavenly choral music similar to the brilliant finale from The Bone Collector. The track "Ball" wonderfully combines "classical" and "pop" sounds and simply put it really works.
If you have never seen the movie or heard the album I would be very surprised if you had not heard the track entitled "Escape". This track is a heavily used action cue in trailers and adverts alike and for very good reason. In this one single track all the elements of the score are drawn together - the epic choir, the orchestra, and the driving electronic beat - to create a cue which demands use of the "repeat" button.
Overall I believe Plunkett & Macleane is one of the most surprisingly original and listenable soundtracks I have heard and it is one that has regular use in my Spotify account. Very highly recommended.
This is one of those soundtracks that seems to get forgotten, much like the film despite one of the tracks being one of the most recognisable as it features on many film trailers and Top Gear has used it rather a lot too - the track is 'Escape' and it's easy to see why it is used to death these days. It's a real epic track and a highlight of the soundtrack, though I feel it always has more of a punch when heard directly after 'Hanging'.
One of my biggest bugbears when it comes to soundtracks are that often the track listing is choc full of spoilers. 'Hanging' could be seen as a spoiler but it's not as bad as 'death of so and so' which I have spotted on some soundtracks and it doesn't really spoil much. The other track names are spoiler free though.
This is a wonderfully odd score. There is an odd mix of modern dance music fused with classical. That sounds horrendous, but it genuinely works! Especially in the track 'Ball' It begins with a classical sound before a thumping dance sound comes in. It fits in well with the film itself too, which is a great blend of old and new - old setting, characters that feel modern. There is an almost operatic element to some of the tracks too, most notable on Hanging/Escape. As I mentioned earlier, these tracks are the real highlight of the album and I'm pretty sure you've already heard Escape on many programmes and trailers without realising it! It's a shame it's been overused because it is really powerful. There are a few odd remixes to be found on YouTube if you're bored!
I put Hanging/Escape together because I think they work best when listened to together. Escape has far more of a punch when heard directly after Hanging. Here the operatic singing is used to create emotion and I have no idea what it being sung but it is really powerful. Hanging really builds into an almost triumphant cry before the strings come into the foreground and then all goes silent... before Escape kicks in and here the dance music returns after being absent for Hanging. God, I can't describe just how powerful this is. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Other tracks are more conventional for the time period the film is set in (1700's) Tracks such as 'Rochester' is more what you'd expect in a period film, no dance music here! So if you're not a fan of the more experimental tracks, there are plenty of more conventional tracks you'd expect to hear for a period film.
There is an odd song at the end of the album 'Houses in Motion' - Yes that is a Talking Heads cover! It has some odd rapping on it that personally I'm not keen on, I'd prefer it if it just had the music, which I rather like and not the crummy rapping over the top but that's a minor quibble.
What does annoy me though is that to include that song and not The Tiger Lillies tracks 'Hell', 'Sailor' and 'Whore' it's sacrilege! If they hadn't included 'Houses in Motion' I wouldn't have been so vexed since I could accept that it was the score only. I don't know if there were rights issues or what, but 'Hell' especially is a great track, it's a shame it wasn't included.
If you fancy trying something different - and hearing Hanging/Escape in all it's glory I really recommend this. I personally am not keen on dance music but I love this so don't be put off if you yourself are not a fan of dance!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
14 Love Declared
15 Little Bit More
16 Never Gonna Give You Up
21 Houses In Motion