Rob Lane plays bass (for People on Vacation amongst others). He also sings a bit. In addition, he’s also a film nerd. These three facts led to the first Straight To Video EP a while back which was well enough received that a crowd-funded project to release a sequel succeeded very well indeed and this full album is the result.
Pledgers, I gather, will already have their copies so I guess I have to tell the rest of you whether it’s worth forking out cash for this sequel. Because, as we know, the sequel’s never as good as the original is it? Well, except maybe Aliens. And Back To The Future II. OK, so the sequel’s not usually as good.
I had a listen to the original on Rob’s web page, and I’d say this longer effort is every bit as good as the EP. Side 1 (for those old enough to remember when LPs had sides) covers songs from films of the 80’s, side 2 the 90’s. There are a couple of tracks on there I’ve not heard of before, but that’s immaterial. It’s how good they are that counts.
On the whole I’d say this is an “easy listening” album. It’s music to unwind to, and perhaps allow a few memories from your younger years to slip out. If, like me, you’re old enough to remember the heady days of the John Hughes-led 1980’s cinema at least.
It’s also quite brilliant.
Let’s be honest, there are countless superb songs buried in soundtracks from the last umpteen decades. Many of them are one-hit wonders, many never released outside of the soundtrack album. The power of a good song within a film is that it can bring back the feeling of watching that film, engaging with the story (and Rob’s picked the kind of soundtrack numbers which will do just that), and what life was like at the time.
These aren’t straight covers. With the help of a veritable musical menagerie of additional cast members, Rob’s twisted the songs around a bit so you’re getting a nice new take on each one. There isn’t a duffer on here, but like anything related to films, there’s the issue of “Why didn’t you do this one? Or that one? And you skipped my favourite!” What is on here is a great listen, with the only let-down being that it left me wanting more. Or at the very least to dig out some old DVDs and heat up some popcorn.
If I had to pick out a favourite it would probably be the most obvious and most well-known – Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. It’s actually the one song on the album that’s almost 100% Rob’s work with some help from Natt Webb on keyboards, but it’s a great, haunting take on the original.
Elsewhere on the album we have vocals from Dave Kerr, Ryan Hamilton and Jamie Derelict; guitars from Craig Reynolds and Rich Shaw; drums from Michael Richards… and many more.
You could go and get a compilation album of “official” soundtrack songs, sure. But this is easily as good a collection as any of them, offers a new recording of each song and pays back to the real musicians rather than the corporates. Definitely a win/win!
S2V is released on 25th May 2015 and is available direct from www.straighttovideo.co.uk as well as all other popular music sites, on both CD and Limited Edition Cassette formats.