A night of fear
Sqürl’s love for big guitars, loud drums and feedback loops has been prominent ever since they first formed in 2009. Members Carter Logan and filmmaker/musician Jim Jarmusch are always up to something and have created quite the immersive score for the new zombie movie The Dead Don’t Die. The record features dialogue snippets from the actual movie, along with stoner-core ambiances to create a holistic, and eery, sound experience.
What makes this score different from most is the dialogue tracks featuring different actors’ lines from the movie. From Chloe Sevigny questioning the existence of zombies to Tilda Swinton stating she will defend herself and a shy Selena Gomez asking to close the door, it’s exciting to hear familiar voices throughout the record. Even if “Dialogue 2” showcases ASMR-like sounds of someone getting eaten by a zombie, the storyline is furthered by incorporating these moments.
Then, comes the music. “The Dead Just Won’t Die Today” opens with Jarmusch’s signature sound: ominous guitars drenched in reverb, feedback and echo. A subtle arpeggiated synth gives texture to the background as the guitars rise in pitch to make for quite a sinister and intense track. “Toxic Moon” is another track that has a full acoustic western guitar playing in dreary tones over a core metal ambiance.
Interestingly, some tracks switch it up and use nostalgic ’70s synthesizers to paint the picture. Songs like “Replacement Sky” and “Pulsating Elevator of Light” use arpeggiated synths for a more dark, pixelated sound. “This is All Gonna End Badly” continues in nostalgic tune, creating a sense of despair like something bad is going to happen. It’s quite beautiful and melodic for a zombie-based flick, proving Sqürl’s ability to transcend any genre limiter. However, there are some moments in the score that become a bit redundant, or just don’t hit as hard. One of the last songs “The Dead Don’t Die” has the same guitars playing, and the song gets a bit boring. Sadly, the track is then paired with these cheesy drums that sound a bit underwhelming and safe for a movie like this.
This doesn’t take away from the score being quite powerful and evocative. There’s a lot of undertones that ride on danger, and Sqürl’s score proves that they really enjoy experimenting with sound.