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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Wristcutters: A Love Story' (Lakeshore)
Artist - Various

Most of the music on 'Wristcutters: A Love Story' is by Bobby Johnston, and his songs tend to be very short and magically atmospheric. We get some beautiful, brief little songs - ominous crescendos, smooth little piano-folk melodies, sprightly little pop songs, folk ballads, and Slavic-flavoured interludes that sound like gypsies took over a jazz band. The highlight is the warm, organ-infused "Everything Reminded Me Of You."

And it's sprinkled with a little bit of everything else - a countryish Gram Parsons song, Mushman's swirling "Brennan's Theme," Mikal Lazarev's panting "Love Song," the quirky Screaming Lord Sutch song "She's Fallen in Love With A Monster Man," and Artie Shaw's sinuous jazz melody. And of course, Joy Division's wonderfully sharp-edged, tinny-voiced "Love Will Tear Us Apart."

And since the character of Eugene is based on Eugene Hutz (frontman of Gogol Bordello), it seems appropriate that Gogol Bordello gets three songs on here - the mellow Slavic-folky "Through the Roof'n'Underground," the blazing "Occurrence on the Border" and the stomping, devilish punk of "Huliganjetta." It sounds exactly like the sort of stuff that Eugene (the character) would revel in.

Much of the music is made up of Johnston's musical interludes, which are pretty, mellow and sometimes catchy - you can hear all sorts of instruments woven in there, from a bamboo flute and wind chimes to twangy guitars, piano to soaring electronics. And whatever he plays, it evokes a lot of emotion - sorrow, playfulness, love, or even fear at times.

"Wristcutters: A Love Story" has a brilliant soundtrack, and it definitely improves as you listen to it by itself. Jazz, gypsy-punk, classic rock or original compositions it's all here, and it fits nicely.