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Soundtrack Review

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Tomb Raider (2018)
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Tom Holkenborg (AKA Junkie XL)
Label: Sony Classical
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 March 2018

Sony Music release the Tomb Raider original motion picture soundtrack featuring the music of Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg, a.k.a. Junkie XL. Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. Leaving everything she knows behind, Lara goes in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan...

The one thing that has kept Lara Croft alive over the decades - the reason why the Tomb Raider game franchise has survived so well - is that the developers have been quick to adapt to the changes in the gaming community. Likewise, Tom Holkenborg's (AKA Junkie XL) score works well here because he takes all the best elements of conventional soundtracks and puts a twist on them, giving a modern audience something they can relate to, whilst not alienating older soundtrack fans.

The end result is a melodic, melancholy score which also ramps up the action adventure themes when it needs to. You can't get more diverse than the tracks 'Return to Croft Manor' and 'The Bag'... but when you combine the two diverse disciplines you get tracks like 'Path of Paternal Secrets'? It's this ability to shift the listener's emotions back and forth that make Holkenborg a master at his craft.

The album contains 14 tracks (1 hr, 12 min, 11 sec). Personal highlight include 'Return to Croft Manor'; 'Path of Paternal Secrets'; 'The Devil's Sea' (as close to the work of John Williams's work as this album gets); 'Let Yamatai Have Her' (which pretty much contains all the best elements in the score in its 13 min, 24 sec run time); 'There's No Time'; 'Becoming the Tomb Raider'; and the closing 'The Croft Legacy'.

While you'll enjoy this from the first play through, it's only with repeat listening that you'll truly appreciate the subtle nuances. And for good measure, from time to time, Holkenborg (so subtly you'll probably not even realise) manages to capture some of the magic of the scores from the original games.

From start to finish this is packed with such a diversity of themes that it's hard not to fall in love with it.


Darren Rea

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