Monday, 19 July 2010



The Warriors is a lowlife masterpiece.  It represents a curious confusing of period and time as it mixes the urban funk of pre-hip hop New York while claiming to be part of a gang war torn future.  It is tense from the off as the unexplained motions of the gang called The Warriors appears very serious stuff.  And to emphasise this we are treated to an appropriately affecting score.  By the time the train arrives at its destination you are scared.

It pulsates from the off.  I will concede taken out of context many of these tracks may not necessarily work.  It may not harbour the bulk of the David Shire soundtrack of “The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three” but it certainly encapsulates the era and the sounds fuelling the conflict.

The hero of the piece is Barry De Vorzon who delivers the driving instrumental score that carries The Warriors across the city towards Coney Island.  The three pieces are truly original/individual pieces of work splicing an odd hybrid of funk, disco and future sounds in keyboard play.  Even though proceedings are filled with menace, they still come with a glow.  And thus was always the success of the movie: as rotten as things became, it always looked great.  Stylistic everyone involved really tapped into a unique process, one that definitely appealed (and still does today).

In addition to his score work here, De Vorzon also found himself involved co-writing “In The City” with Joe Walsh that was later re-recorded by The Eagles after being considered so good.  To me it sounds like a countrified Warren Zevon having gone through a (then) modern studio blender.  The build up is very much in the same style/region as “Lawyers, Guns And Money”.  It my not necessarily fit the vibe of gang warfare but it suits the time.

The other starring track of the album is “Echoes In My Mind” which is a slick soul work out very much appropriate for the suffocating and paranoid fear of the gang’s situation.  In true cinematic fashion after a subdued opening it builds to a high string pay off in lo-fi Shaft fashion.  This scene got swagger.

Of course it’s not all amazing.  A few tracks are downright awful but others crash through with kitsch value.  The cover version of “Nowhere To Run” by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas from Arnold McCuller is horribly lightweight and never likely to work anywhere.  Also the overtly sexual sentiments of “Love Is A Fire” by Genya Ravan feels juvenile when considering it is being used to express gang members emotions but certainly this is (and was) not the only time such pieces have been used in such a context.  And the less said about the bar room boogie of “You’re Movin’ Too Slow” by Johnny Vastano the better (although it does win with kitsch).

It all ends with a crash with Desmond Child earnestly exuding “Last Of An Ancient Breed” which emerges like a second rate Springsteen singing over the Top Gun theme.  In theory that should sound awesome but really it does not.  The real Bruce Springsteen is cheese enough.  Time to turn things off.

In contrast to the record’s failings, the sprinkling of sound clips from the movie at the end of tracks is something that never hurts.

This truly was a time when guitars could be used to express the sounds of the streets.  Better times.  That said, the songs sound better in the movie.

Thesaurus moment: desiderate.

A&M Records

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