Steven Price’s score for Last Night In Soho truly is something to behold; sporting a memorable main theme and a well-crafted stylistic blend of dissonant electronics and jazzy orchestra, his music pretty much expertly captures the retro London tone of the film while also being a pretty enjoyable album all on its own.
A light yet rather unnerving piano strikes the first note of Steven Price’s Last Night In Soho score, with ghostly, echoing vocals then amplifying the already quite sinister tone. Dissonant electronics and strings then gradually start to fade through the music, setting quite a chilling atmosphere for the first minute or two before ominous percussion then starts to cause ripples in the mix, with an orchestra slowly building in the background behind it led by some rather imposing brass. It’s at this point though that the main theme for the score is introduced; it’s quite a melodic, jazzy motif overall, but one that still manages to not only excellently capture the unnerving musical vibes set by the instrumentation so far but also fit with the film’s 1960s London aesthetic very well indeed. The theme only makes a brief appearance at the halfway point of the cue here, but it then returns in full orchestral force for the final minute, with loud, dramatic brass, worrisome strings and emphatic percussion holding the motif proudly high. Overall, while it does take a little bit to get going, opening cue Neon is an absolutely sublime piece of music, expertly setting the rather unsettling tone for Edgar Wright’s movie while also providing an incredible five minute introduction for the album. The last minute in particular truly is something to behold.
Haunting, echoey piano notes open The Beginning, hinting toward thematic elements from Neon with quiet, moody electronics also starting to fade into the music until a short crescendo is reached at the one minute mark. The piano then continues into When I Feel More At Home, this time evoking quite a pensive, solemn tone with downtrodden strings helping to amplify this in the back half of the cue. I’m With You To The End then brings back the rather jazzy orchestra from Neon, with light percussive beats and light though also somewhat unnerving strings taking centre stage for much of the track. This all then reaches crescendo at ninety seconds in, with quiet, high-pitched strings hinting ominously towards horror territory before the cue then fades to black. Eerie electronics set quite a wistful tone at the start of You Look Familiar To Me, before pensive brass cameos a few notes from the main theme. Strings and ominous piano notes then slowly push the tone up into more worrisome territory as the track progresses, which then segues straight into subsequent cue You Know You’re Not Asleep, where the ghostly vocals from earlier in the album make their return alongside unnerving, almost horror-like percussion and strings. This all builds to several short though particularly tense crescendos before the track ends as quietly ominous as it began.
Handsy starts off with some rather dissonant electronics, before a melancholic guitar then enters the fray accompanied by hair-raising piano notes, overall setting a tonal clash of sort of oddly upbeat while also being quite eerie and worrisome all at the same time. A few downbeat notes from the main theme also make a short appearance towards the end of the piece. Things then start to get quite sinister in the next few tracks, with the discordant vocals returning in You Know Where To Find Me alongside some increasingly in-your-face electronics. No Male Visitors then plays a few notes from the main theme on some gently melancholic brass before then going full-on horror in the back half, with loud, frantic strings and bursts of imposing brass setting an increasingly chaotic tone which all then comes to a deafeningly dramatic crescendo at the three minute mark, with gentle whispers closing the piece a few seconds later. Things slow right back down for A Vision From The Past, with a few piano-based notes from the main theme echoing through the first minute or so before slow, ethereal strings and percussion then take over for the remainder of the rather unnerving setpiece. The short Feel Free To Run A Mile then picks up where it leaves off, with a rather sorrowful piano taking centre stage for the majority of its ninety second runtime.
A rumble of sinister electronics opens Leave Me Alone, with a few quietly nervous notes from the main theme fading inbetween until loud brass and increasingly foreboding vocals start to take over the stage, building in both volume and intensity until the orchestra then comes crashing fully into frame at the three minute mark. From here on the pace quickens quite considerably, with subsequent track You Tell Her I Said Hello falling fast into horror territory as frantic, ominous strings and ghostly electronics set a particularly nerve-wracking tone. Hopes And Dreams then continues where this leaves off, starting with quiet piano notes before then building dramatically over the course of its five minute runtime as increasingly horror-like strings and rapid bursts of brass lead the musical charge. With the album starting to draw to a close, Help cements its descent into full-on horror territory with loud crashes of emphatic percussion and marching, creepy brass playing increasingly foreboding notes from the main theme. This all then builds to a particularly loud crescendo, which segues directly into final cue You Have To Let Me Go; the piece opens with similarly in-your-face brass notes before the orchestra then starts to build, gradually pushing strings and percussion to the forefront until everything then just unleashes at the ninety second mark. Here Price finally lets the orchestra play in all its dark, dramatic glory, reaching the score’s loudest crescendo yet while also bringing the album overall to a decidedly powerful finish, with a few notes from the main theme in tow.
Overall, Steven Price’s densely atmospheric score for Last Night In Soho is incredibly well made, and while at times it can be a little difficult to listen to (see the rather harsh nature of some of the full-on horror setpieces), the jazzy orchestral style and sheer ambience that grounds the album firmly in 1960s London are frankly a joy to experience, and make the score overall more than worth the price of admission. Look no further than standout cue Neon as a fantastic example of this; the piece opens slowly and carefully with light strings and a playful piano, before then slowly building over the course of five minutes until the full orchestra then practically bursts in with a brilliant and frankly exquisite-sounding debut for the score’s main theme. Speaking of which, the motif is quite excellent, being memorable and very fitting with the score’s dramatic though also rather unnerving musical aesthetic. The orchestral style overall is also truly something to behold as it sounds simply gorgeous throughout, and the way it mixes and changes places with the electronics at various intervals through the score is of particular highlight. In essence, if you’re looking to musically lose yourself in the glamorous but also rather sordid setting of 1960s London, then this is the film score for you.
Standout Cue: 2. Neon
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