“Lies” soundtrack a “House” of fun, intrigue and emotion

The Showtime dark comedy “House of Lies,” centering on a cutthroat management consultant (Don Cheadle) at a top firm, has been touted by some as a masterpiece and panned by many as “over-the-top” and more about caricatures of characters than actual people. As bombastic as the show may be, however, it certainly has a soundtrack that lives up to its ambition.

The House of Lies soundtrack features 12 tracks by various artists, spanning genres like blues, jazz, pop and alternative. It starts off with the rock/blues fusion of Gary Clark, Jr.’s “Bright Lights,” which doesn’t include the most original lyrics, but makes up for it with a strong beat that keeps the listener engaged.

Most of the album is of the jazz/blues persuasion, ranging in tone from lighthearted (“Belly Roll” by Count Basie) to tender and emotive (“It All Comes Back Around” by Michael Kiwanuka).

Some standouts from the usual sound include “Midnight Sun” by Isaac Delusion, “Brains Out” by Kim Cesarion and “Illusions of Time” by Kekoking and creativemaze.

“Midnight Sun” is sleepy and perhaps about a minute too long, while “Illusions of Time” features voices chanting words like “strength,” “illusion” and “time,” set to an unsettling blend of strings and drums.

“Brains Out” is perhaps the best song of the non-jazz/blues/soul group, or at least the catchiest. With a synth-pop melody and simple guitar riff, all behind Cesarion’s falsetto “I wanna love your brains out,” it could be mistaken for any of last summer’s Top 40 hits. An actual Top 40 star is also featured – Aloe Blacc, whose strong vocals mesh nicely with a ‘70s soul-infused rhythm on “Take Me Back.” That song, along with Thomas Dybdahl’s “This Love Is Here to Stay” and Basecamp’s “Smoke Filled Lungs,” add gravity to the soundtrack.

The latter track in particular is an interesting addition; while much of the album is filled with bravado, the lyrics in “Smoke Filled Lungs” add a different kind of intensity – one that is vulnerable. “Show me some light/I won’t shut you out/If you’d put on hold your doubts/And give me some time,” the singer croons deeply, amidst a backdrop of beats that make for an emotional track at the very least.

Even if you’re not a fan of the show, the music featured in its episodes should at least perk up your ears should you come across it while channel surfing. With a couple of exceptions (“Midnight Sun” being the most obvious), this is a fun, upbeat soundtrack with plenty to offer.

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