Off the coast of New England, five lobster boat crews struggle to land their catch in any weather in Lobster Wars, a Discovery Channel documentary series from 2007 (the show is also known as Deadliest Catch: Lobstermen). Lobster Wars is one of a long line of fly-on-the-wall documentaries that follow various sections of life who endure difficult and sometimes extreme conditions in order to just do their job (Ice Road Truckers anyone?). American/Polish musician Andy Kubiszewski has composed music for numerous TV shows (e.g., Monster House, Ice Road Truckers, America’s Toughest Jobs), many of which feature a hard-edged score that reflects the extreme nature of the subject matter (and also the characteristically “in-your-face” narration that accompanies these documentaries). Kubiszewski bases his score for Lobster Wars around a small group of instruments (live and synth), using growling electric guitars and pounding percussion elements together with fiddles and accordion/concertina to provide an enjoyable score that feels like a grungy Celtic rock group’s latest instrumental album.
The album opens with “Catch Experiment”, which features a very catchy riff played on fiddles that gives an immediate Celtic feel to the score and is perhaps suggestive of the geographic setting of the series. Percussion beats, growling guitar licks and the occasional anvil hit adds colour to the basic repeating fiddle motif. The Celtic feel to the music is very prominent throughout and seems also to hint at the boat crews’ camaraderie, risking their lives to land their catch. The fiddle takes centre-stage in cues such as “Fiddle 1”, “Fiddlework” and especially in “Catch of The Day” where it plays out a jig in celebration of the crew’s success. What sounds like uilleann pipes (“Out To Sea” and “Adventure At Sea”) and accordion/concertina (“Sea and Sky” and “Wind Driven”) reinforce the Celtic air and, together with the fiddles (and the solitary use of female vocals in “Celtic 1”), links the various tracks to a common sound. Kubiszewski does a good job at establishing the setting (geographical as well as maritime) with this Celtic sound. Read the rest of this entry »