The Cinematic Orchestra's Every Day could be the perfect score for an edgy post-9/11 film noir. Jason Swinscoe and Phil France compose dank, foreboding songs where drums, acoustic bass, harp and Fender Rhodes intermingle with electronica loops and subtle turntablism, resulting in nightmarish, hallucinogenic soundscapes.
Since there is no actual movie to accommodate Every Day, the music suffers from being too cinematic; there's too little melodic ingenuity and rhythmic variation. As enthralling as the rough-hewn ambiances are, musical plots, narratives or characters seldom emerge. The suspense is created, but there's no release, making a lot of the material sound like nothing more than spooky mood music.
The Cinematic Orchestra enlists veteran singer Fontella Bass on "All That You Give" and "Evolution," but sadly she's given little to work with. On the former she basically repeats the song title and fills it with emotive wails, while on the latter she sings of the sun, stars and everlasting love, but without any fleshed-out narrative. British rapper Roots Manuva gets more shine on the brooding "All Things to All Men" as he spits out battle rhymes about artistic salvation, but even then, his delivery is so grave and deadpan it loses momentum.
Every Day proves that the Cinematic Orchestra is perfectly capable of giving us a soundtrack for the dark realities of early 21st-century living; what they need is a movie to put it to.