I’m not sure what to make of SoundBites and not even sure how to rate it, though I have to admit I enjoyed it. Whatever else it is, SoundBites is certainly an interesting idea—one that I can’t imagine would occur to most people. From the film’s Web site: “Imagine for a moment that you had the opportunity to invite your favorite band into your home for the evening. You decide to try your hand at cooking a new Thai dish that involves salmon steaks coated with a blend of ginger, curry, lime juice and fish sauce and artfully wrapped in banana leaves … After supping on your culinary creation with the band members, they treat you to an acoustic set of hand-picked favorites. Once the last note has been played, each band member personally thanks you for having them out and offers to do the dishes …” And that’s what the film pretty much is, except that the set of songs are interspersed with the cooking and eating. Sound kind of screwy? Well, yes, it is, but it also works surprisingly well, not in the least because the band, a Durham, N.C.-based group called Bombadil, are likeable and engaging guys, who actually seem to be enjoying the cooking experience, and who are definitely enjoying making music.
The music’s pretty engaging, too, though damned if I know what it means on Bombadil’s MySpace page where their sound is described as “a circus for the nostalgic; a heart for the hopeless crayoner.” (Then again, I didn’t have a clue who the bands they listed as influencing them were either.) I’d call Bombadil bouncy, catchy and engaging, which may or may not be the same thing. If you like the group or if you like the idea of cooking salmon in banana leaves (they could leave off the cilantro topping for my taste), that’s reason enough to see this effort. Then again, if you know nothing about either, this is an enjoyable way to learn.