Recording information: Rocket Carousel Studio, Los Angeles, CA; The Projector Room, Atlanta, GA; Traxidermy Studio, Nashville, TN.
The first collection of music from AMC's zombie drama The Walking Dead arrived nearly three years after the show, which is based on Robert Kirkman's long-running comic book, premiered and became a smash hit. Given the walker-like pace of releasing The Walking Dead: Original Soundtrack, Vol. 1, it's something of a surprise that it includes so little of the show's original score, especially when Bear McCreary's gorgeously dread-filled theme song (which appears here as a remix by UNKLE) and unsettling incidental music are as vital to the show's horror as its gruesome special effects. Aside from the theme song and the lovely, spare version of "The Parting Glass" sung by Lauren Cohan and Emily Kinney (who play sisters Maggie and Beth Greene), most of the album focuses on songs by other artists that have appeared on the show over the years. Looking back, the series has featured a higher than expected amount of pop music, including songs by Wooden Shjips, Wye Oak, the Cave Singers, and Bob Dylan, but the selections were used subtly and were well suited to the show's post-apocalyptic South setting. This is also true of these songs, with the earthy, bluesy "Lead Me Home" by Jamie N Commons (a Brit who sounded twice as old as he actually was when he recorded it), Of Mice & Men's plaintive "Sinking Man," and Delta Spirit's gritty "Running" capturing The Walking Dead's hard edges and bleak beauty at their finest. ~ Heather Phares