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Soundtrack review: Summer of ’84 (Le Matos – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Summer of ’84 (Le Matos – 2018)

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“Summer of 84” is a 2018 Canadian horror mystery film directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell. The film stars Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Gruter-Andrew, Tiera Skovbye, and Rich Sommer. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. A young boy suspects that a cop who lives next door to him is in fact a suspected serial killer and convinces his friends to help look for proof. Le Matos wrote the score.

The past few years have been great for fans of 80’s synth music, with the resurrection of the genre, with the popularity of synth wave and with film scores. Few bands from this great bunch though have captured the perfect retro synth sound I’m looking for as Le Matos did. When I heard their score for “Turbo kid” a couple of years ago I was blown away as their composition took be back on a nostalgia time travel journey back to my favourite decade, more than any other album. They are back now with “Summer of 84” and they pick up right where they left of. Even in 2018 we had quite a few synth scores and maybe we’ll have another “Stranger things” score but once again on a purity scale, Le Matos score the highest. It’s even hard for me to describe how the music makes me feel since it’s so personal, so close to me; it’s the perfect tone and mood, the perfect mix of alert and reflective electronic music. It’s a story in itself this score, a journey I don’t want to end.

The thing with Le Matos is that they don’t get flashy, they don’t exaggerate with any ingredient in their recipe and I imagine the story, mostly investigative in nature, helped inspire them. Their music flows at just the right pace and nothing interferes with the sound, nothing modern, nothing to taint the nostalgia trip and the 80s feel. Sometimes the music evokes the “Terminator” sound, other times Giorgio Moroder, nothing but the best. I would say I am enjoying this even more than “Stranger things” – which has sort of been the benchmark for retro synth scores – because this one lacks the dark horror elements of the Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein albums and I am more drawn to this lighter side of synth wave. Yes there are dark moments but they don’t feel overwhelming.

I am hypnotised by the music and I am fine with that; nothing, and I mean nothing can make me travel in time as fast and as precise as a retro score like this and I just block the outside world when I am listening to it. If you are fans of the genre, and, actually, if you are familiar with Le Matos you know that you can’t miss this score.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Highlights:
Summer of ‘84
It’s A Conspiracy
Mom, I’m 15
Ipswich Lanes
Serial Killer on the News
Blind Tipping
Where’s Sammy
PB&J and the Missing Ginger
Mackey’s Trash
Watching Mackey
Nikki and Davey
Mackey’s Freezie Pops
You Guys are Hooking Up
Operation Manhunt
Walkie Investigation
Dusty’s Shirt
Molly ’84
Stealing The Cam
Mackey’s Basement
Nikki’s Goodbye
Nowhere Left for Him to Hide
Mackey’s Theme Extended
End Of Summer
Cold Summer (feat. Computer Magic)

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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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