Review–Orphan Black offers two new albums for fans to get their Clone Club fix

Orphan Black Soundtrack cover

Orphan Black wrapped its best year yet Saturday with the third season finale “History Yet to be Written.”  Tatiana Maslany has secured her place in the acting elite with a solid third run in a role every actor dreams about–a true showcase of her talents.  This season she shared the multi-role acting gig with the Castor clone brothers played by Ari Millen.  Despite sharing screen-time with the Castors, and expanded roles for Mrs. S, Delphine, and the introduction of the vile Dr. Coady, Maslany created some of the best scenes in the entirety of the series this year.  Alison started a drug-and-soap business and ran for office and won (and had that off-the-wall bedroom scene with Donnie).  Cosima brought in Lost Girl star Ksenia Solo as a show regular, and doubled (awkwardly) for Alison in a campaign speech.  Rachel duped everyone after losing her eye.  And we met poor, new, completely baffled Krystal.  But nothing compares to the character arc developed over three seasons for the incredible Helena and her trusty scorpion adviser.

How could TV watchers possibly fall for a character like Helena?  Raised in a convent outside of any family, trained to be a cold-blooded killer, she would kill four of her clone sisters.  This season she befriended Alison’s husband Donnie, massacred a room full of drug dealers who threatened Alison’s kids, reunited with “boyfriend” Jesse, and proved her fighting skills could take the worst of the Castors out of the equation.  In one word, Maslany, as Helena, was brilliant.  Can the BBC keep up the momentum for season four?  While you’re waiting for 2016, you can pick up two albums released by the BBC and Varèse Sarabande Records.

Helena and Sarah
Sestra pals Helena and Sarah.  Insert your favorite Alanis Morissette song here.

The Orphan Black Original Television Score provides all the feel of the show a card-carrying Clone Club member could want.  Composer Trevor Yuile created a distinct sound for the show, mixing the eeriness of Angelo Badalamenti with the evocative repetition of John Carpenter and the mechanical sound of Massive Attack or Daft Punk.  Beginning with the psychedelic Orphan Black theme, which we only wish there was a full, expanded version, the album moves the listener between memorable themes.

“Previously On” evokes a glass voice of one of the clones, in contrast to the screeching sounds of “We Meet Helena” which helped to define the psychotic and uncertain nature of that character.  The gravitas of the synthesized bass lines and building suspense gives “Unconditional Surrender” the stuff of a big screen action flick chase scene.  “Cosima’s Treatment” is a bit of a surprise with its hopeful, almost cheery stroll of electronic bells and violins.  It’s easy to recall Alison’s spiral into a very dark place with “Alison Kills”.  The album ends with a large, dramatic piece, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”.

Orphan Black Original Television Soundtrack

In addition to the Television Score, you can pick up an album full of the broad array of popular songs used throughout the series.  Just check out the track listing:

1. Theme From Orphan Black (Two Fingers)
2. Rain Of Gold (Young Empires) – Featured in episode one, season one
3. It Ain’t You (The Ettes) – Featured in episode three, season one
4. Earthforms (Matthew Dear) – Featured in episode three, season one
5. Mon Ton Ton (Humans) – Featured in episode four, season one
6. Shuggie (Foxygen)
7. Bitch (Meredith Brooks) – Featured in episode eight, season one
8. Blame Fiction (The Belle Game) – Featured in episode ten, season one
9. Live In The Bedroom (Tim Moxam) – Featured in episode three, season two
10. Head Over Heels (Tears For Fears) – Featured in episode five, season two
11. Crazy (Diana Salvatore) – Featured in episode six, season two
12. When I Was Abroad (Daniel Romano) – Featured in episode six, season two
13. West End Sky (Elliott Brood) – Featured in episode six, season two
14. Love Is All Around (The Troggs) – Featured in episode seven, season two

Orphan Black Alison election

As an album it all works together.  Yes, Young Empire’s dance hit “Rain of Gold,” Meredith Brooks’ anthem “Bitch,” Tears for Fears’ magical “Head Over Heels,” and The Troggs’ 1960s hit “Love is All Around” could be on a soundtrack for any number of movies, yet they all landed on this incredibly quirky and cool British TV series.

Pick both of them up at Amazon, Trevor Yuile’s score on CD here and digital here, and the soundtrack pop album on CD here and digital here.  Vinyl editions are coming later this year.

C.J. Bunce

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