Explosions in the Sky, et al.

Friday Night Lights (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The decision to use a popular-music soundtrack instead of traditional orchestral arrangements for your feature film can sometimes be disastrous (we're looking at you, Phil Collins). Occasionally, however, it works wonders: See Simon & Garfunkel's contributions to The Graduate or Elliott Smith's to Good Will Hunting. That said, it's a bold move for a motion picture studio like Universal to allow the bulk of the feel-good football flick Friday Night Lights to be scored by the relatively obscure indie instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky (with a little filler from Daniel Lanois and Bad Company). The Texas quartet, however, steps up to the challenge and passes with flying pigskins. Like peers Mogwai or Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions usually favors lengthy instrumental noodlings that start small and build to epic. Here, however, the band remains tender and reserved, tinkling soft piano keys amidst droney keyboards, electric-guitar whole notes, and delay pedals. The restraint yields a maturity many acts aren't capable of, and, indeed, a perfect soundtrack to the underdog team fighting for a glimpse of glory.

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