Morricone Youth ‘Mad Max’ Soundtrack Review: alternative film score artists give post-apocalyptic thriller a unique sonic makeover.
Morricone Youth are a NYC collective specializing in an unusual musical forte: creating alternate scores for classic films.
Last October I reviewed their wonderfully creepy soundtrack for Night of the Living Dead, and now the group return with their re-imagining of George Miller’s post apocalyptic car chase classic Mad Max starring Mel Gibson as a cop driven over the brink.
Max (and its sequel The Road Warrior) were both scored by composer Brian May (not the Queen guitarist), and his boisterous, pompous symphonic assault gave the proceedings a bold grandeur.
Morricone Youth’s take is so different in approach that it’s jarring at first. In place of May’s batshit grab you by the collar score, is a sleek electro synthwave soundtrack.
For longtime Mad Max fans this disorients at first, but upon repeated listens it offers a parallel sonic viewpoint that plays up the futuristic dystopian aspect of the film.
Opening track Hall of Justice sets the tone, an uneasy mix of spaghetti western twang over a pulsating backdrop, while Mad Goose (a reference to Max’s motorcycle cop buddy) goes for a motorik krautrock vibe, appropriate given his choice of vehicle
The spaghetti western motif returns in Clunes Town,which draws from Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme (fitting given the group’s name), along with the otherworldly soundscapes of oddball producer Joe Meek.
The stylistic template twists and turns throughout, the biggest departure being Jessie, the theme for Max’s wife–which features a sax solo, a sonic Easter Egg that should please hardcore fans.
Nightrider’s mix of Peter Gunn guitar and industrial beats perfectly fits the film’s high-octane opening sequence, while the final track Bad Max gives an ominous John Carpenter-esque feel to the proceedings.
Morricone Youth’s unique take on the soundscapes from Miller’s gritty classic takes a bit of recalibration for cinephiles used to May’s bombastic score, but repeated listens offers a unique synergy with the source material, as unhinged and unpredictable as the character from which gives the title its name.
Order Morricone Youth’s Mad Max on Amazon.