Local Wire

Various Artists

Wes Anderson's new film is his moodiest, most adult yet: Bill Murray's Steve Zissou, a washed-up oceanographer-filmmaker plainly modeled after Jacques Cousteau, has a heart of gold, of course, but he also curses and behaves irrationally and commands unpaid interns to make him lattes on stolen espresso machines. The film's soundtrack is similarly less precious than those for Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Mark Mothersbaugh once again contributes glimmering chamber-music miniatures, and there are tweed-coat gems from Scott Walker, the Zombies, and Joan Baez. But the album is anchored by a handful of interpretations of David Bowie tunes by Brazilian singer-guitarist Seu Jorge, who also appears in the film as one of Zissou's crew members. His "Life on Mars?" and "Rebel Rebel," sung in lilting but proud Portuguese, manage to locate a warmly ageless wisdom in Bowie's confrontational flounce. As Greek choruses go, you won't find a more inviting sound.
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Mikael Wood