Apart from Thomas Newman’s eerie theme, the music from HBO’s Six Feet Under may not have made as much of an impression on you as the expertly placed tunes on the cable network’s breakthrough masterpiece, The Sopranos. No matter, soundtracks of any kind — when they’re not about aurally conjuring favorite scenes — are about selection and sequencing, and Six Feet Under doesn’t fail.
As you might expect, there’s a vibe of otherworldliness here, but the disc still serves up a lot of variety. Lamb’s "Heaven" reassures with sing-along dreamy harmonies before dropping into the Stereo MCs’ crunchy, somewhat generic guitar hip-hop "Deep Down & Dirty" (the down-and-dirty delivery recalling A3’s Sopranos theme). Prime big-band Peggy Lee follows, laying back on the beat on her "I Love Being Here with You" with insinuating brass responses; then one of PJ Harvey’s signature devil-woman one-chord guitar vamps (the hard-to-find British B-side "One Time Too Many"). It’s this kind of left-turn segue that keeps the album moving (the Dandy Warhols’ indie-pop "Bohemian like You" ending cold almost on the first beat of Orlando Cachaíto López’s classic Afro-Cuban dance number "Mis dos pequeñas" is another doozy). And there are the usual offbeat oldies nuggets: Shuggie Otis’s ’70s funk "Inspiration Information" and Classics IV’s lost gem "Spooky." The requisite remixes of the Newman theme with snatches of dialogue thrown in are disposable, and Julie London’s take on Ohio Express’s "Yummy Yummy Yummy" is campy in a way the rest of the CD isn’t.