Our first viewing of the post-apocalyptic adventure retro action flick, Turbo Kid, left us exhilarated and excited, like we’d just seen the coolest thing ever. Repeated viewings have, sadly, not proved as passionately thrilled, with a diminishing level of return every time it gets put on.
Le Matos’ score for the film, however, is the exact opposite. Since the abridged vinyl version of the score -- entitled Chronicles of the Wasteland -- arrived in the mail last week, we’ve been spinning both LPs back-to-back at least twice a day. While the film’s retro aesthetic doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, revealing far too many seams, Le Matos’ vintage take on synthesizer score might be the best thing we’ve heard since the golden age of Tangerine Dream.
It's a warm and inviting score, which –while still evoking the wasteland of the film – brings a smile as one listens to it. The more the volume creeps up, the better it gets as well. While the majority of the album is of a rather sedate, mood-setting nature, when one cranks the likes of “Highway 64” or “Playtime Is Over,” there's a distinct chance of dance parties breaking out in their living room. These tracks are fully revved up and ready to go, really capturing the exhilaration one feels upon watching Turbo Kid for the first time.
Usually, the film scores we review have a song or two with vocals, and they’re usually the low point of any given album. Such is not the case for Le Matos’ collaboration with “No Tomorrow,” featuring female singer Pawws. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and if you enjoyed “A Real Hero,” the College song with Electric Youth from the Drive soundtrack, you’ll absolutely adore this song.
Part of what really makes all of this work is that the Chronicles of the Wasteland album is essentially a reworked version of the Turbo Kid film score, consolidated into a proper album, rather than just a collection of music from the movie. It really flows, and works equally well as a Saturday night or Sunday morning record, thanks to the powerful synths used so masterfully.
Be it the anthemic “The Kid” or the brightly laconic “Like Faith or Some Shit,” Le Matos create music that makes us want to live in a vividly neon world where an android can defeat warriors with a gnome stick, and we ride off into a tequila sunset. We just wish everything had that cool as hell voiceover from the introduction.
While the liner notes consist mainly of credits and the lyrics to “No Tomorrow,” it’s nice that there’s an insert at all. The gatefold sleeve features both amazing original art and a display of the film’s logo as the interior. The tri-color striped vinyl sounds fantastic, especially for the multiple colors, and it looks pretty damn amazing, as well.
TURBO KID: CHRONICLES OF THE WASTELAND / COMPOSER: LE MATOS / LABEL: DEATH WALTZ RECORDING CO. / RELEASE DATE: AVAILABLE NOW