It's fitting that Tin Hat guitarist Mark Orton eventually turned to composing film scores. Since their debut in the late '90s, the group's unique, atmospheric pieces have always taken on a kind of strange, cinematic bent. For his second soundtrack effort (following 2006's score for the indie Sweet Land), Orton provides the aural backdrop for Alexander Payne's (Sideways, The Descendants) black-and-white, father/son road trip film Nebraska. At times haunting and quirky, his sparse, percussive, acoustic guitar and fiddle score is a perfect match for the film both in tone and geography. Peppered with accordion, trumpet, bass, harmonica, and a variety of other emotively lonesome instruments, the music rolls by like the heartland's wide-open landscape, complementing the film's austere cinematography and enhancing its wit and emotion. It's appropriately wistful, haunting, playful, and decidedly uncluttered. The hallmarks of Tin Hat's sound are prominent and three of the tracks are actually credited to the band, having been featured on previous releases. That's not to say that the Nebraska soundtrack is merely recycled from Orton's back catalog. It plays more like an extension of his style and should be considered a worthy addition to his body of work.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger
feat: Rob Burger