‘Cold In July’
Music By Jeff Grace Soundtrack Album Review
Milan Records/16 Tracks/Disc Time: 57:24
The film “Cold In July” is easily one of my favorite films of the year so far along with the sensational
“Snowpiercer” which got a nice limited run and was released on Blu-Ray and DVD recently. The film stars “Dexter’s” Michael C. Hall as a happily married man named Dane who one night wakes up along with his wife (Vinessa Shaw) to find and intruder in their home and shoots him dead. When the intruder’s father (Sam Shepard, “Paris Texas”) comes into town to find out what happend, a case of mistaken identity leads Dane to join forces with him and his friend, (Don Johnson, “Miami Vice”) which leads the trio to a snuff movie making ring that has some personal repercussions for one of them in the end.
The film is a great retro 80’s noir that is full of atmosphere and the film needed a score that would reflect that almost Tangerine Dram styled mood. Enter Jeff Grace, a composer on the rise whose talents have been on display for a while now writing solid orchestrial scores and this film is up his alley. Grace uses the basis of electronic scores from that period to create this sinister cool underworld that really propels the story right along adding to Director Jim Mickle’s excellent directing style and the solid performances by Hall, Shepard and Johnson that make Grace’s score that much better.
“Intruder” opens Grace’s score with moody electronics that feel almost experimental and as the track progresses, the music begins to set up what the rest of the score will develop into as the film progresses. “Whole Lot Like You” really does feature that Tangerine Dream sound to a full blown extent which really feeds on later tracks such as “Crank Call And Break-In”, “Following Ray”, “Dane’s Decision”, “Recon And Grave Digging”, and “The Mansion” where the material just builds up and ratchets up the tension and suspense to another level. Pulsing beat after pulsing beat with not a single note wasted here. “Father And Son” is a highlight which perfectly ends the score on a somewhat of a downbeat reprising the theme from the score for the rather surprise and somewhat shocking ending in the film which really caught me off guard and really worked with Grace’s music as the perfect explanation point to it. Added to the mix is the perfectly matched track “Cosmo Black” by Dynatron, that has a great 80’s vibe and really matches Grace’s score quite nicely and capped off nicely by “Wait” by the rock group White Lion and “Back Of My Smile” by Kasey Lonsdale, which is a nice little Western styled ballad.
Milan Records album is a very solid listen and one that will please fans of this retro electronic sound like I am. Jeff Grace really captured the period and atmosphere perfectly which is easily one of his best scores without a doubt. Fans of Tangerine Dream’s music as well as great all electronic scores will enjoy this one because of the musicianship as well a Grace deft touches. Some might be turned off by it, but I highly recommend it because it’s that good just like the film. Thumbs way way up.