Ice Age 2 opens with The Crossing, an expansive and powerful, almost film soundtrack inspired theme, conjuring images of vast ocean vistas, sweeping hills and valleys and expansive panoramas. Woven into this tapestry is a mood suggestive of exploration, discovery, strength, intrepidity and hope, as exalted horns and strings carry the bold and courageous theme to an emotive conclusion.
In contrast to the grandiose classical style of the proceeding track, Fish out of Water is both whimsical and playful, with a bouncy skipping groove which evolves into a slinky jazz number with sleazy sax, jazz piano and vibes mixed with ocean waves and sparkling surges of sound.
Taking a deep dive into the heart of the sea, King of the Ocean is a gently evolving, layered work which somehow manages to convey what it must be like to experience a ‘day in the life’ of some of the great behemoths of the ocean; evoking many of the sights, sounds and experiences these creatures must encounter in their endless journey across this watery planet of ours.
Suffused with some of the romantic flavour most evident on the first Ice Age album, Ebb and Flow swells and ripples like a kind of somnambulant dream, a languid and sensual reverie such as one might might experience after spending a delightful day by the ocean. This is followed by the surprising and refreshing mood of Beachcomber, which blends a laid-back chill-out style with sleazy sax and gentle shimmers of sound that meander across a glittering shoreline.
As if following in the footsteps of the track Iceolation from the first Ice Age album, All in the Past seems to extend said melancholy tale, with a bittersweet guitar melody underpinned by gently pulsing tabla beats. The piece evolves with the addition of a solitary voice before lamenting with emotive cellos and strings, as if it were intended as an anthem to sadness and loss.
New Dawn is almost a rebirth of the album itself, opening with joyous birdsong and flute, as if chasing each other through the trees whilst the sunlight appears. Then we find ourselves back at the shoreline for an uplifting and jubilant journey, as further themes and joyous melodies emerge and evolve.
Switching to a deeper mood, Night Tide embraces us in a warm cocoon of twilight, as dark rhythms emerge from the jungle, approaching ever closer, until the track suddenly breaks into a delicious late-night groove, with restrained funk guitar, trumpet, sax and strings.
Gentle beauty and peace are evoked at the start of Navigator, as if waking on a moored boat at sunrise, with gentle waves and glassy waters. The piece evolves with distant violin and warm arpeggios of sound, before fully blooming into a maritime anthem full of heroism, courage and hope.
Run Free is a delightful and joyous montage, an anthem to nature and the natural world. In some ways, the track summarises what has come before, drawing together the different moods and stories woven into the earlier tracks of the album. In other ways, it tells entirely it’s own story: of a natural world with it’s own hopes and dreams, of it’s own loves, losses and experiences. Of a time before man, when all of nature could run free.