I would be the first person to say if it is an electronic score then I probably am not going to be that keen on it, but I suppose we have to take into account the budgets etc nowadays for movies and also we have to look at the tools that are now at hand for composers, some may argue a large symphony orchestra is not needed on certain scores and a small but sophisticated electronic ensemble is sufficient. PAIN AND GAIN is a fairly new release and the score by Steve Jablonsky received a release on Varese Sarabande a little while ago, although I am not a fan of synthesized scores, I would never dismiss a soundtrack simply because it was electronic, I will always give it an airing and a fair chance. Look at GETTYSBURG by Randy Edelman, a great soundtrack brimming with themes but not a real instrument in sight and also CHARIOTS OF FIRE and around 90 percent of Vangelis’s soundtracks all synths but still containing melody, substance and being enjoyable and memorable. Given the subject matter of PAIN AND GAIN, we just know we are in for a little bit of a high octane and fast paced ride, Jablonsky makes effective use of the electronica he chooses to use and manages to create some appealing and also memorable moments within the perimeters of his soundtrack, but for the most part this is an action score, plenty of up-tempo passages and lots of brooding edgy material that probably lends itself wonderfully to the action that is occurring up on screen, but somehow falls a little short when it comes to being an enjoyable listening experience, but what we have to realize is that this is film music, music that is written to accompany, enhance and support images and action, and that is what composers do they write music to fit the action not to create a collection of lovely sounding themes that will make a good album. As I have said there are a handful of nice touches within the score that do make one stop and listen, for example track number,11,RUN HIM OVER, although slightly repetitive is quite appealing, the composer gradually building the momentum as the cue progresses, adding layers and sounds and supporting these with a percussive punctuation. Track number, 22 DU BOIS, is also haunting in its own way, again the track builds as it progress’s Jablonsky adding elements to it as it does so, the composer here I think is successful in creating a really rich sound that is enticing and interesting.  Overall I would say that if you are into large scale score with sweeping strings and booming percussion that is laced with brass stabs and highly melodic and wistful themes, then PAIN AND GAIN is probably not for you, on the other hand if you like synth scores with up tempo and beat infused cues that evoke an urban or industrial feel then maybe try it and see.


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