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Soundtrack Review

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Doom Patrol
Original Television Soundtrack
Season 2


Composers: Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner
Label: WaterTower Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 September 2020

WaterTower Music releases the Original Television Soundtrack to Doom Patrol: Season Two. The DC comic books characters are reimagined in a popular TV series. Robotman (played by Brendan Fraser), Negative Man (Matt Bomer), Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), Cyborg (Joivan Wade), and Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) are perhaps the most bizarre group of superheroes ever. Horrible accidents gave them their abilities, but also left them scarred and disfigured. Consequently, they are seldom celebrated for the good they do. But still they investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence. The group is led by mad scientist Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton). The show is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. It was developed by Jeremy Carver, based on DC characters created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani. WaterTower Music is the in-house label for WarnerMedia companies. The soundtrack comes from two sought after composers: Award-winning, Golden Globe and Grammy-nominated film composer Clint Mansell (Black Swan, The Fountain), and multiple Emmy Nominee Kevin Kiner (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Narcos: Mexico). The score is available for download...

'Miniature Patrol' is a fine way to commence this second season of music from Doom Patrol. Fantastic Electronica in the vein of a fusion between John Carpenter and 1980s Gary Numan. There are some nice fluttering noises and squeaks surrounding the central piece. Halfway through it strips right back to a more restrained sound, and then returns to the opening sound. Only this time the beat is different, feeling predatory, dark and menacing. There is a feel of building-up to a crescendo which is never quite reached. 'The Candlemaker' has a cello mood-maker with reverberating bells around it. There are some horror sound effects of slamming or stamping; a metallic resonance. Sampled background voices come to the fore, but they are purposefully off-key and create an off-kilter feel. A reflective tone becomes somewhat threatening with the brief introduction of squealing guitar and a vibrating pulse of synthesisers. This is more of a suite, and incorporates multiple emotions. 'Father and Son' introduces melancholy and more of a soundscape. Again, halfway through it gains more substance, becoming a quiet orchestral number. 'Dr Tyme and the Loose Brain' begins mysteriously and tentatively, before adding a bass beat and light sampled sounds. It evolves into a mechanical, almost industrial groove, and then withdraws to return more forceful than before with an alien freeform, like Electronica Jazz. Nice, and totally unsuspected in its direction.

'Backstories' lightens the mood entirely, with jaunty synthesizer sounds featuring delay effects. A scratchy, fuzzy electronic beat and slow, heavy reverberating bass synth informs us we have been lulled into a false sense of security. This recedes to the original sound but with a simple melody which jumps around in the background. 'Red Jack and the Butterflies' features a caustic electronic string section, amidst echoing effects and a false build-up. This is a searching-the-barn-for-noises scene straight out of a number of horror films. A bottle-tinkling and multiple off-kilter whirlwind of oppression endures here. 'To Keep Dorothy Happy' is a solo piano piece, slow and effective. It becomes an orchestral number, before bizarrely turning into a whirligig of carnival Electronica. In 'Catching Sex Ghosts' we return to John Carpenter territory for the opening, before grinding out a harsh beat and turning weird but interesting. A slipping off-beat accompanies a bass synth and a multitude of amazing sounds which come and go. There are false ends to this track, but it ends up being a down and dirty disco orgy of Electronica. Different. 'Cliff’s Heroics' incorporates a little guitar mixed with synths in a 1970s style TV show theme. It maintains this style, occasionally becoming dark and gritty, before ending in a sort of nightclub mix. 'Adventures in Space' has a space sound invaded by synths and the hints of the Doctor Who and Star Trek themes. This is lighter and more mystical, with its own melody. It’s also much more reserved, but screeches see it out.

'Scants' has a Funky Electronica vibe, with an underlying repeated bass beat like a train journey theme. Curiously it changes to a Beat Box sound with samples flittering around. This really is disjointed, as it begins a certain style, only to change it completely, and yet again. Most strange, which I suppose was being aimed for. 'It’s Time' rings in like the sands of the Mystical East. The heavier marching sound is enveloped in gently rising-in-pitch synth sounds. A tapping and clattering accompanies that Industrial vibe again. An excellent theme enters the fray, but is cut off before you can begin enjoying it. 'Trauma at the Well' has some intrigue to the sound. This is all about creating an atmosphere until a simple electronic stuttering beat enters, bringing with it a ringing theme. There is a foreboding feel before a crazy fluttering plays around the central beat. 'Imaginary Friends' has a similar sound as the previous track, but incorporates a Western or Mexican piece amidst Chilean pipes and church organ. In fact, all manner of instrumental samples are thrown into the cacophony, including screaming guitar. We conclude with 'Meet Your Fate'. This is a building of suspense with a ring tone and low oppressive juddering beat. A synth wave smooths over a juddering, and it starts to build up to a heroic crescendo with a nice theme.

I feel that Electronica is a perfect versatile sound for film and TV soundtracks. This is an excellent example. There is plenty of diverse and entertaining music here, which works perfectly well on its own merit (I’ve yet to see how it fits the series). The composers have done a remarkable job, even surpassing the score for Series One of Doom Patrol.


Ty Power

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