1 star (out of 4)
Birds chirp, woodwinds trill,
Albarn brings wit and intelligence to almost everything he does, from commercially successful bands such as
But "Dr. Dee" (Virgin), his soundtrack for the Rufus Norris opera that debuted in England last year, never fulfills its promise. It creaks along, peppered by stuffy opera singers, slow-moving elegies, and unintentional silliness (the wordless vocals and huffing, puffing circus music of "Watching the Fire That Waltzed Away"; the cartoonish crooning in "Temptation Comes in the Afternoon"). The soundtrack strives for a quirky, melancholy resonance befitting its tragic subject, but too often it comes off as gimmicky and ponderous.