VARIOUS ARTISTS – Extremes O.S.T.
Deram 1972 / Gonzo 2017
Long-forgotten soundtrack to a film preserving long-gone era for glorious posterity.
“I like talking to young people but I don’t enjoy young people,” says a middle-class gentleman in one of the scenes that make “Extremes” – a movie shot by Tony Klinger and Michael Lytton in an attempt to show how the ’60s innocence was giving way to the ’70s sleaze – a jigsaw puzzle reflecting the British existence at the turn of the country’s most creative, in musical terms at least, decades. The music doesn’t get lost in the film which is relegated to bonus DVD here, yet it’s aurally distilled on a CD portion of this package – and it’s worth hearing in a temporal context. There’s nothing new or rare on the soundtrack, although even familiar tracks can be perceived differently when they’re bundled together.
That’s why the folk motif of Mark McCann’s hypnotic “Black Rose” finds an echo in a bluesy chant running through CRUCIBLE’s “Hit It”; that’s how the drama of ARC’s “I’m A Perfectly Happy Man” contradicts the piece’s title, while the same band’s “Let Your Love Run Through” emerges as a lost hippie anthem where lush vocal harmonies and psychedelic crunch are spiked with a heavy riff and a piano surge. For the same reason, SUPERTRAMP’s stately “Surely” can be a mirror of the British establishment’s link to traditional values, but it’s their dreamily idealistic “Words Unspoken” and its “to live for love isn’t so easy” line that best capture the spirit of the now-forgotten era.
It’s an artifact now, and a precious one at that. “Freedom is within you” is another phrase from the film, and this music makes one feel it time and again.