Various Artists : Spider-Man OST the top of its game...

So anyway, spider bites cute young boy, cute young boy goes a bit odd and starts wearing Lycra, cute young boy shoots sticky stuff all over the place. Face it: ‘Spider Man’ is a bona fide cinematic corker.

And hey, ‘dude’, it’s got a wicked soundtrack! With, like, The Strokes! (‘When It Started’, previously a B-side, nothing to do with spiders.) And[a]Nickelback[/a]! (‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, a bloody obvious former single, nothing to do with spiders.) And some people who are usually in bands, or at least used to be, but who here aren’t, ie, it’s ‘special’: Corey off Slipknot

pops up, as do Chad off [a]Alien Ant Farm[/a] and Tom Morello, the latter remixing (ie, putting guitars all over the place in) [a]Sum 41[/a]’s nonsense-on-stilts album track ‘My Nutmeg Phantasy’, a song whose lunacy is spelt out in its title and only aggravated by Morello’s frantic axework.

Elsewhere, the 19 tracks (including some excellent bits of score from Danny Elfman) are of an unusually high standard for these soundtrack affairs, including various new, specially commissioned songs. Among them [a][/a]

contribute ‘Bug Bytes’ (loses the plot a bit halfway through, otherwise fairly decent), and San Francisco’s Black Lab add ‘Learn To Crawl’ (epic, windswept, premium riffage). It’s a startling state of affairs with[a][/a]

’s contribution (‘What We’re All About’, which sounds a bit like the ‘Back In Black’-sampling track on the last Five album) is any album’s highlight, but that may well be the case here. Meanwhile, things takes a predictable – and refreshing – turn for the absurd when Aerosmith

bowl up for the final track, an all-guns-blazing, racket-friendly reworking of the classic [I]”Spider man, Spider Man, does whatever a spider can”[/I] theme.

As to whether the songs hang together, the ‘Spider-Man’ soundtrack isn’t too far off a CD-R representing a music fan’s afternoon downloading off Audiogalaxy. Indeed, the tracks you’ll find here are already available over the, ahem, web. Why buy the CD, then? ’Cos you get a sleeve with a picture of the aforementioned young boy in lycra, which is perfect given that the album’s natural precursors are the poodle-rock-laden soundtracks of the ’80s: [I]’Terminator'[/I] [I]et al[/I], films which now only seem dated by their soundtracks. That’s the curse of being cool, one supposes: but for now, and presumably for a good while yet, the ‘Spider-Man’ OST is at the top of its game.

Peter Robinson