Yes, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Dead Rat Orchestra is a terrible name for a band. All I can think of this that scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy walks through the catacombs filled with rats … and then I imagine them singing, which sounds like an atonal Tim Burton composition. Not pleasant.
But, if you get the ridiculous and hilarious preconceptions out of your mind, what you will hear on The Guga Hunter of Ness is a lovely, contemplative set of pieces. This soundtrack was commissioned as the sonic backdrop to a BBC documentary of the same name about “the journey of ten men from the community of Ness on the Isle of Lewis as they embark on a traditional hunt for gannets.” Overall, this plays out like a mix of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and the creaky celloisms of Earth’s latest recordings. The proceedings here aren’t always memorable, but a true landscape emerges from these songs, which is the best thing a soundtrack can ask for.