Byrne was inspired by Mormon folk culture and art, such as this stained glass representation of Joseph Smith's first visitation
Byrne initially started writing music for the series in fall, 2006. He found himself attracted to the moral fascination of Big Love and identified with the characters in the series and decided to compose half a dozen hymns that would "imply that [the characters are] always aware of the religious underpinnings that they see as supporting their lifestyle and how they behave." To that end, he sought out Mormonhymnals, recordings of sacred music, and read up on the history of Mormonism. He was also inspired by the soundtrack work of Bernard Herrmann and Nino Rota. He visited the Los Angeles set of the series in early 2007 to talk with the producers about the second season's arc and returned to New York City to continue composing and recording based on what he had seen and the video the producers sent him. The episodes themselves aired from June through August that year and Byrne continued scoring and uploading his music via FTP, finishing on August 3, 2007. In preparing to release the album the following year, Byrne expanded some musical cues and added several hymns that were not included in the series itself.
The album has received overall positive reviews. Simon Cosyns of The Sun wrote that "there are no boundaries to Byrne's work" and called the album "strangely compelling." Other reviewers have found the album too esoteric, such as Chris Barrett, writing for the Metro Pulse, who concludes his review writing "Recommended. But, as mentioned, probably not for everybody." Thom Jurek of Allmusic gave the album three out of five stars, calling it "pleasant for a while, but lightweight" noting that buyers would have to be "Byrne enthusiast[s]... to find this set of compositions engaging in its own right, or addicted to very specifically themed cinematically inspired music, to truly appreciate what's on offer here." Some reviewers have noted the emotional sweep of the music, with John Constine of Tiny Mix Tapes calling it "a wide breadth of emotions... at times pensive and ominous, at others curious and wistful." In addition, the spiritual themes have been compared to Sufjan Stevens by several commentators as well as Byrne's other 2008 album, the Brian Eno collaboration Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.