Bear McCreary – “Black Sails”

Album Reviews | Feb 13th, 2014

Black Sails

Record Label: Sparks & Shadows
Genre: Film Score
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Black Sails is the newest drama on Starz and it’s all about pirates! The series is a prequel to Treasure Island and stars Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Jessica Parker Kennedy and Tom Hopper. Emmy-winning composer Bear McCreary has composed a catchy and badass sounding theme & score!

As soon as you hear the hurdy gurdy churning, you immediately get a sense of what type of series and score you’re going to get. While I haven’t seen the series yet, the music is certainly making an impression. While other pirate movies and TV shows has this swashbuckling orchestra sound, this score is the opposite. The theme song sounds like something Dropkick Murphys or some other Celtic punk band would do.

Throughout the score, the music is very minimal with the instruments that are being used but man, I love that hurdy gurdy and uilleann pipes sound! The bodhran and other instruments you might have heard back in that time are used heavily. When Bear wants to create some suspense, all he really does is use that hurdy gurdy or a few taps from the edge of the bodhran. It works really well! He explained in one of his YouTube videos that he stumbled on that opening part of the theme just by starting up the hurdy gurdy. I’m surprised no one used that motif before Bear. The rest of the score sounds like folk bands jamming, and other times it’s action-packed with lots of drumming pounding away. The final song is a sea shanty called “Golden Vanity” featuring Doug Lacy and it’s fitting for the end of the soundtrack.

Bear McCreary is a young composer (in composer terms I suppose) but he’s already making a name for himself with all the themes he’s done for TV (The Walking Dead, Battlestar, Agents of Shield, The Cape to name a few). He’s becoming a composer I look forward to hearing what he’s going to do next.

Bottom Line: One of my favorite scores from Bear McCreary to date!
Notable Tracks: Theme from Black Sails, Nassau Shores, Nation of Thieves, Golden Vanity
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