Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome

by Suzie Conway (Communications), published May 23rd 2011

Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!

Mega producer Danger Mouse is EVERYWHERE, with his hands having touched indie and mainstream artists alike. And fresh off of his collaboration with James Mercer as Broken Bells, Danger Mouse returns alongside composer Daniele Luppi, with a concept album of sorts, Rome. The album is now finally being released after five years of preparation.

Taking inspiration from Spaghetti Western movies, Danger Mouse has crafted an unpredictable album. Featuring Norah Jones and Jack White, probably one of the few musicians involved in more side projects than Danger Mouse, Rome generally sticks to its established goal.

Though indeed harkening back to the Westerns of decades ago, the music seems to also fit in with modern cinema scores. Opening track ‘€œTheme of Rome,’€ would fit perfectly in the movie Desperado. Its delicate melodies feel as equally at home in the streets of Mexico as they do in Rome.

However, there are some inconsistencies that arise with the vocals. The nature of Norah Jones’ smoky voice seems more appropriate in a cafe, rather than a saloon. But on the other hand, Jack White’s whiny vocals are perfectly suited for the style. ‘€œTwo Against One’€ is cool and creepy, like it could be heard through storefronts at the lull before High Noon.

Where the album seems to shine most though is in its instrumental songs. Combining guitar twangs with violins shows the unlikely but successful marriage of Westerns and orchestra. On ‘€œRoman Blue,’€ an instrumental song, save a few harmonizing nonsense noises, takes these seemingly disparate elements and blends them into a fully realized piece. ‘€œThe Gambling Priest’€ features soft and sparse guitars with twinkles of bells that sound just unnerving enough to have been plucked out of a Tarantino film (someone who also pays homage to the Spaghetti Western). And ‘€œThe Matador Has Fallen’€ echoes like the emptied streets after a duel.

The theme here is inventive, but not overworked. It leaves room for the listener’s interpretation and lets them create their own pictures in their mind. The theme is not so pervasive as to limit the imagination of the listeners. But even when some aspects don’t work as well together, one has to give Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi props for this wholly unique work.

Recommended Tracks: Two Against One, Roman Blue, Theme of Rome, The World

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