Having assembled such varied soundtrack compilations as DAZED AND CONFUSED and BEFORE SUNRISE, Richard Linklater slices another winning piece of musical eccentricity. In the true-crime case of BERNIE, it’s from the big plate of his Texan soil, carving out a slice of home-fried country as opposed to the city SLACKER indie rock section.

Jack Black has a new Tenacious D. album out. And if his diehard fans enjoy the singer’s hell-blazing approach to the ways of metal, they might even be more intrigued with Black’s subversively holy stylings as an effete funeral home manager with both a heart, and throat of gold. Indeed, his renditions of “Love Lifted Me” and “He Touched Me” are lovely enough to cause a conversion, while subtly getting across the personal, quavering quality of a man trying to do the Christian thing out of an ungodly act.

Black’s range further impresses with a heartfelt “Beautiful Dreamer,” and the jolly gusto of “Seventy-Six Trombones.” While not a Jack Black album per say, BERNIE makes a convincing case that he could continue his singing vocation in a church choir, or on the Broadway musical stage, should he hang up his Tenacious rock guitar.

Extra special: After creating the truly bizarre sci-fi electronics for Linklater’s “A Scanner Darkly,” Austin composer Graham Reynolds gets to play far funnier stuff here, from rampaging over-the-top murder music to Bernie’s regretful fiddle and violin, along with an ironically whimsical take on “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Reynolds creates an arch, but regretful character for Bernie beyond his jovial front. Further Texan atmosphere is added by the C&W stylings of Dale Watson’s “Whatever Happened To Sam” and Miss Leslie’s “I Can Get Over You,” with James Baker’s “Bernie What Have You Done” turning the true-life crime tale into an exasperated guitar country blues ballad, one that nicely sums up the catchily subversive twang of BERNIE.


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Article: CD Review of BERNIE soundtrack

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