Sympathy for Delicious
Musical Score By: The Besnard Lakes
Songs By: Various Artists
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In Sympathy for Delicious, Mark Ruffalo’s first foray into directing, Dean O’Dwyer (Christopher Thornton) is an up-and-coming Los Angeles underground music DJ known as Delicious D. Paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, O’Dwyer realizes his career is over and begins a downward decent into depression. A local priest (Mark Ruffalo) introduces Dean to faith healing as a positive approach to getting Dean on the road to walking again. Unfortunately, although Dean finds he has a power to heal others, he can’t heal himself. Heedless of the priest’s warnings, Dean takes his act on the road, looking for fame and fortune, and eventually hooks up with a rock band featuring a charismatic lead singer (Orlando Bloom). Yet, despite the notoriety, Dean is still suffering a profound loss and until he confronts his own demons, he will never find happiness.
The soundtrack of Sympathy for Delicious features an original musical score by The Besnard Lakes and songs by the band featured in the film (Burnt the Dipthongs), Do Make Say Think, The Kills, Xocoyotzin Herrera, The Bee Gees and more. There are a total of three Burnt the Dipthongs songs on this soundtrack featuring the barely musical warbling of Cedric Bixler, Orlando Bloom, DJ Disk, Juliette Lewis, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Deantoni Parks. Let’s just get these out of the way by saying that these songs are basically an off-key punk screamfest with very little harmony and very high cringe factor. The Bee Gees song, I Started a Joke, is featured at the end of the soundtrack and is perhaps the most relevant to the film. As for the rest of the songs, my favorite is El Mago Cardona, not for the lyrics which seem to be about a drug deal gone bad, but for the sound of the song itself, reminding me of a mariachi band.
When looking for someone to create a musical score for Sympathy for Delicious, Mark Ruffalo turned to The Besnard Lakes: “Sympathy For Delicious is a Magic and Agnostic Rock and Roll Revival and I wanted a score to the film that felt questioning and cinematic. The Besnard Lakes is a perfect match to what we have been trying to achieve with the movie.” A Canadian indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec, The Besnard Lakes were formed in 2003 by the husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. The band’s sound is psychedelic 60s/70s rock heavily steeped in guitars.
Their first track on the album, Dean Wakes, begins with an organ and then segues into guitars reminiscent of the Rolling Stones hit, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. The organ gives the song a church-like quality while the guitars suggest that this is anything but a church choir favorite. Much of the rest of the music created by The Besnard Lakes for this film offers up the same ethereal quality, especially those used in the healing sequences of the film.
While the original score is interesting enough, I can’t see spending good money on the Sympathy for Delicious Soundtrack. The Burnt the Dipthongs songs were enough to sour me, but in reality, there really isn’t much to celebrate on this album. The music is quite depressing. While it goes a long way in capturing the pain of the character in the film, it doesn’t do much for it’s stand alone album value. That is, unless you’re one of those dark people who believe in listening to depressing music to heighten your own sense of suffering. As a musical score for a film Sympathy for Delicious may be just what the doctor ordered, but as a stand alone album…the morgue is calling.