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Soundtrack review: Tooth and tail (Austin Wintory – 2017)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Tooth and tail (Austin Wintory – 2017)

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Lead the revolution with an army of flamethrowing Boars, mustard gas-lobbing Skunks, and paratrooper-puking Owls. From the designers of MONACO: WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE, TOOTH AND TAIL is a Real-Time-Strategy game featuring Single Player, Online Competitive Play, Split Screen, Replays, and more. Build a base, lead your army, eat your enemies! The War for Meat — The Longcoats, the Commonfolk, the KSR, and the Civilized are in the midst of a Civil War over who gets to eat, and who has to be the meat. A darkly humorous tale of riots and revolution is told through an extensive Single Player campaign. There is endless replay-ability with procedurally generated maps and customisable factions, no two conflicts will be the same, forcing players to strategise rather than memorise. Austin Wintory wrote the score.

Right from the start I am having tremendous fun with this score; the plot of the game suggested as much but I didn’t expect the music to give me the same feeling. I am listening to victorian like harp motifs, fun horn section moments and, above all, the choral work that just cracks me up because the chorus sounds like a gathering of hobbits singing and chanting in a pub or in a field before starting to play their trombones and trumpets. Sometimes it sounds like circus music and even those chants can be similar to the encouragement noises acrobats usually give each other; the more I listen to this score the more it excites my imagination and I am enjoying this musical carnival. The piano sounds dissonant or maybe it’s an instrument similar to the piano, maybe harpsichord but it just adds to the feeling of improvisation and fun. I don’t know how the game looks but it sounds as if all the toys in an imaginary attic suddenly came to life and started talking, singing, making sounds. Even if there are no remarkable standalone themes the overall sound of the score is quite enjoyable.

There are moments when the horns and violins make me think of the gypsy music that Goran Bregovic usually makes and that Hans Zimmer also used for his “Sherlock Holmes” scores; this nomad sound only adds to the carnival and cartoonish feel of “Tooth and tail”. I find my favourite cue from this score in “John Robert Matz Waltz of the KSR”; not that I have anything against the tango or the other dances from this score.

“Tooth and tail” is wonderfully innovative and fun game score. It’s not immersive by any means but having recently spent a wonderful Saturday at a fairground I can appreciate what Austin Wintory did here and I am sure that in the context of game play the music is even more fun when you also get to experience the images and to control your characters. Sometimes the music takes itself seriously, other times it doesn’t but it’s non stop charm for me from beginning to end; I felt no need to skip cues or leave the show until it was over. Experience a different side of Austin Wintory’s wide musical range in this one and hats off to the violin soloist.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 10 / 65

Album excellence: 16%

Highlights:
Waltz of the KSR
Bonepit Exile
Archimedes’ Tango
Swine, Inscribed
Victors will Feast

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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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