Film scores

Soundtrack review: The callback queen (Joseph Conlan – 2015)

callbackqueen

“The callback queen” takes place in the cutthroat London film industry where vivacious actress Kate Loughlin (Amy-Joyce Hastings) is chasing her big break. Upon getting an audition to the Prince of Chaos which promises to be a successful franchise, Kate goes the extra length to get the part, but has conflicted feelings when getting the job means she must get more involved with the director. Add in the mix a rival starlet,, two vulnerable young filmmakers and a casting agent to get a recipe for romance and hilarity. The score was written by Joseph Conlan.

I know that soft and quiet piano that sounds almost like a chime is textbook for the more serious and romantic moments of a comedy but I still like the way this score opens. ”Kate and Vincent” is a very nice and dreamy theme which already puts me in a good mood. I appreciate the honesty of this opening. I am even more surprised when “Lucid dreamer” comes at me with a Celtic string sound that feels very country and period like. It’s as if I got an Irish lullaby in the middle of this supposedly light and feel good score.

“Lucid dreamer” seems even strange as the score progresses because the music turns into the superficial, guitar driven comedy score I was expecting and moves far away from that distant dream. I feel as if there were two very different composers writing this score: an immature and fun loving one and a soulful and deep one. Even inside the same cue, as it happens in “Kate’s audition” we get two completely opposite moods, one deep, the other shallow.

Those guitar parts are the only ones I can’t connect to. Thankfully they aren’t many. The rest of the score is beautiful and romantic and gets me to dream. Usually in a romantic comedy these moments are scarce and usually announce the climax of the film but in Joseph Conlan’s score they are all we get. I like that; it makes the music feel like it has more to say. It shows that the composer really put his heart into this score and didn’t just write.

Actually, at times “The callback queen” sounds as if the composer was auditioning or showing us samples of his quite varied array of compositions. I’ve rarely had such a disjointed opinion of a score, almost as if someone pasted together completely different motifs into cues. “The prince of chaos” is another prime example of that duality. A very interesting score.

Cue rating: 78 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 3 / 17

Album excellence: 19%

Highlights:

Lucid Dreamer

The prince of chaos

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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