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Soundtrack Review

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Giraffes on Horseback Salad
Original Soundtrack to the Greatest Movie Never Made


Composer: Quin Arbeitman
Label: Lakeshore Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 26 July 2019

Lakeshore Records release the companion album to the recently released graphic novel Giraffes on Horseback Salad. Written by pop culture historian Josh Frank, the vividly illustrated book is based on a screenplay written in 1937 by famed Surrealist Salvador Dali as a potential movie for the Marx Brothers. The screenplay merged Dali’s imaginative art with the fast-paced comedy of the Marx Brothers. Rejected by MGM, the film never made it to the silver screen, disappearing into the annals of history, a footnote in the otherwise prolific careers of artistic greats...

A comment on the Surrealists’ desire to challenge the mundane woes of everyday life, Giraffes on Horseback Salad follows Jimmy, a businessman whose life is turned upside down when he encounters the Surrealist Woman, a magical shape-shifting beauty who is turning his upper-class social scene on its head. Jimmy is instantly smitten with the mysterious woman, and as their relationship deepens, the powers of the Surrealist Woman begin to distort the world around them. From eye-popping parties to otherworldly scenes packed with signature Marx Brothers gags, Giraffes on Horseback Salad highlights the best of the iconic creative forces behind its conception, Salvador Dali and the Marx Brothers.

The soundtrack to Giraffes on Horseback Salad is the perfect accompaniment to the recently released graphic novel. Composer and jazz multi-instrumentalist Quin Arbeitman brings the book to life with a large cast of players and vocalists from around the world including Japanese harpist Kaoru Arai-Colucci who played solos throughout reminiscent of Harpo’s contributions to each Marx Brothers film. Dali had originally envisioned music by Cole Porter in the film and Arbeitman found himself channeling Porter in his compositions.

Appearing on the album as characters in the book are Frank Ferrante (the Marx Bros. Estates official Groucho), Matt Roper as Chico, Brian Hemstock as Jimmy and introducing charlotte Kerbs as The Surrealist Woman. Brian Baumbartner (beloved character actor who played Kevin on The Office) brings his vocal talents to two special tracks and Finnish genre bending band Pepe Deluxe also contribute a theme song to the mix.

It's not an album that everyone will be able to get their head around, but if you appreciate surreal humour then there's plenty here to sink your teeth into. There are enough quality "sketches" to ensure that everyone will find at least a few pieces to embrace. While it's sad that the movie was never produced, this is the next best thing.


Darren Rea

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