Portastatic

Who Loves the Sun

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Who would have guessed back in the early-'90s heyday of Superchunk that 15 years later Mac McCaughan (recording under his Portastatic banner) would be making music as gentle and refined as this soundtrack for the indie film Who Loves the Sun? The soundtrack reunites McCaughan with director Matthew Bissonnette (they worked together on 2002's Looking for Leonard) and proves once again that McCaughan has a knack for creating thoughtful and rather lovely film music. Unlike that previous soundtrack, there is no bossa nova influence here; instead there is a pastoral chamber pop feel at work as McCaughan and a handful of others have crafted a truly beautiful album that is tender, sweet, and lush without being overbearing or treacly. Using only sporadic guitars and no vocals, McCaughan relies on oboes, flutes, organ and tinkling pianos to carry the melodies, and does a stellar job at creating a wide variety of moods and tones throughout. The mix of shorter pieces and longer songs gives the record itself a nice flow and allows it to stand apart from the film as a satisfying separate work. You don't have to like, or even see, Who Loves the Sun to be moved by McCaughan's work here. It is another step in his growth as an artist and certainly should give anyone who ever dismissed him as a one trick pony some serious pause. The album should also give McCaughan a shot at doing more soundtrack work, both for indie films and otherwise.

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