The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Gimme Five! – Review

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Gimme Five! (Telegram/Warner Brothers)
by Brian Varney

Formed from the ashes of cult legends Union Carbide Productions, The Soundtrack of Our Lives has been one of the best unknown bands in the world for four years. Despite the fact that they’re on a Warner subsidiary and have two of the best albums of the last decade on their resume (Welcome to the Infant Freebase and Extended Revelation), nothing this band has done is available in the United States.

Since I’ll assume that most everyone reading this is unfamiliar with the band, let me fill y’all in: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, over the course of two albums and a handful of singles and EPs, continues in the general direction Union Carbide Productions were moving on their last two albums. Clearly fascinated by late ’60s psych and rock, The Soundtrack of Our Lives albums show a great love for bands like Love, The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Pink Floyd, The Zombies, The Beach Boys, etc. And yet despite the obvious reverence for these bands (and the occasional stolen riff), neither of the albums is at all “retro.” There’s no dress-up theater involved in The Soundtrack of Our Lives, just great songs filtered through their love for their favorite bands. The story (probably apocryphal, but a good one nonetheless) is that the Soundtrack got their record deal after a live performance brought a record executive to tears. They’re that good.

So when I heard that they’d released a five-song EP, I was all over it. When it finally arrived in the mail, I tore it open in anticipation. Right away, I could tell something was different. For one thing, the packaging is quite a shock. After the antiquarian feel and sedate colors of the album covers (one is white and one is black), this one is a bit of a departure; everything’s brightly colored, and I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a color photograph of them. The shock was not abetted when I popped the CD in the player. Gone is the ’60s feel, and in its place is a decidedly ’90s feel. The production is huge and very modern sounding. Hell, there’s even a drum machine on one of the songs. I didn’t think I was going to like this.

And I didn’t the first time through. A couple of spins later, though, the songs had won me over. This band has written a handful of songs that infiltrated my soul, songs that will be with me ’til the day I die. They have, to make a rather stupid but appropriate pun, written part of the soundtrack of my life. And, changed production values or not, they can still write damn fine songs.

I’m not going to lie to you: you’re going to have trouble finding this. However, if you can track it down, you’ll have even more trouble getting rid of it. This band has a way of clinging to you and not letting go. As I said, they’ll be with me forever. And I couldn’t be happier.