ALBUM MERCURY RELEASE: OCTOBER 21, 1999 REVIEW: DECEMBER 20, 1999
Yello's music have always had a distinct cinematic
feel to it. But despite popping up on a handful of soundtracks, they've never
done a complete score. And probably having a wish to do one, members Boris
Blank and Dieter Meyer simply composed twelve songs based on excerpts from
imaginary films (or perhaps episodes) and recorded an album suitably called
Still, this rather original approach stays within the
frames of what essentially could be defined as a typical Yello production.
Meaning that you get your share of Dadaist folly, Dieter Meyer's spoken word
and some high tech latino rhythms.
But by simulating a score they also open up for such
refreshing influences as Henry Mancini, legendary composer and father of the "Pink
Panther Theme". Also to some extent John Barry (the latter isn't such a
new influence, though). "Houdini" could actually be seen as a homage to
Mancini. And it should be emphasised that Yello wisely stick to their own
traditional sound instead of imitating Barry fetishists like Propellerheads.
The highlights of
"Motion Picture" is to be found in "Time Freeze" and
the cleverly titled "Point Blank". On these tracks a beautiful Fender
Rhodes piano gives you the most genuine jazz vibe since "Rhythm Divine",
their successful collaboration with Shirley Bassey twelve years ago.
But as on so many other Yello albums the highlights are
mixed with a fair amount of anonymity. Several tracks seem to be made out of
routine to keep the album together. And the predictable mambo of "Squeeze Please" just feels like a
tiresome extension of their old hit single "Jungle Bill".
Still "Motion Picture"
is Yello's best effort in a long time and indicates that gentlemen Meyer and
Blank can postpone their retirement an indefinite number of years.