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Soundtrack review: Star boys ( Per Störby Jutbring – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Star boys ( Per Störby Jutbring – 2017)

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“STAR BOYS” is about what happens when sexual revolution arrives into a conservative and religious small town in Northern Finland, as seen by the 13-year-old Star Boy singers who are forced to observe their parents’ sexual liberation and its consequences at too close range. It’s a powerful story of two families of architects being torn apart by crumbling of moral conceptions and the parents’ endless need for love and freedom. After a fatal toga party, no one and nothing is the same, and the boys’ confusion erupts violently… Even though STAR BOYS deals with heavy themes, it is ultimately a warm and positive survival story that portrays the persistence and capacity of children to get over even most difficult experiences in life. The music was written by Per Storby Jutbring.

Movies and scores that come from the Nordic countries are a special breed; there is rarely a light composition among them. The Swedish composers are specialised in horror scores lately; the Norwegian ones go for dark fantasy but it’s the Icelandic and Finnish composers that are left to deal with the dark and heartbreaking, to the textural and moody. Per Storby Jutbring is a new name for me but his sound is not; it’s a good thing since somehow the combination of sombre piano and strings that this score proposes is something I really enjoy; the piano is my favourite instrument and when the strings come to compliment it the sound gets more affecting, it gathers more depth. Take a cue like “Star boys intro” where the cello is there to tone down the stride and light of the piano. There is also a very interesting motif where the violin tries to keep up with the piano and mimic the same sounds at the same pace.

The music of “Star boys” plays like the deceitful and playful summer sun, when in the afternoon the shadows appear and disappear over a hill or some trees: sometimes it comes in stunningly beautiful motifs, other times is quietly beautiful and relaxing and simply peaceful without affecting me a whole lot. I like the main theme and the way it’s featured throughout the score; it’s that dual cello and piano motif that play in tandem and give a very nice sound as if the piano was sharp and pointy. The second half of “Star boys main theme” explodes in strings and reminds me of the unique intensity and fervour with which The Kronos Quarter performed Clint Mansell’s “Requiem for a dream” score. It’s a flawless and memorable main theme and I just had to listen to it a few more times.

“Star boys” is more joyful than I expected; I imagine it’s because of the youthfulness of the main characters who are not brought down easily by hardship. Both the piano and the string themes and improvisations were rich and complex and I just felt the need to pay attention at every single note and just take the music in and let it affect me and charm me. Per Storby Jutbring wrote a beautiful orchestral score which I invite you to listne to.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 32

Album excellence: 55%

Highlights:
Star Boys Intro
Careless Youth
Last Days of Summer
Star Boys Main Theme
Piano Improvisation and String Ensemble
Drone

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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