Boy Harsher: The Runner (Original Soundtrack) (Nude Club/City Slang) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Boy Harsher

The Runner (Original Soundtrack)

Nude Club/City Slang

Feb 02, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Vocalist Jae Matthews and producer Augustus Muller—known collectively as Boy Harsher—return with a vengeance on the soundtrack to their short Lynchian meta-nightmare The Runner (now streaming on Shudder), unleashing their black latex wash of tightly-crafted synth pop wickedness into a single cohesive score. The foreboding senses of carnivorous history and psychosexual dread which permeate the film’s entirety carry heavily onto its impressive soundtrack, stealing the listener away into the farthest reach of the vast outer dark in which The Runner exists. Matthews’ cool vocals pair well with Muller’s minimalist synths and industrial beats in forging an atmospheric grit, delivering a considerably heavy listening experience. Its status as a film score, however, does not prevent The Runner (Original Soundtrack) from being enjoyed on its own merit. Given that the music was conceived prior to the notion of the movie it would eventually accompany, the album stands apart as its own largely remarkable work.

Opening track “Tower” rises steadily from the shade to overlook a vast expanse of trauma and delirium, setting the general mood. Muller’s playing recalls, at least to some extent, the demented melodies of classic ’70s and ’80s giallo scores, revealing Boy Harsher’s kinship with acts such as Goblin. The subsequent “Give Me a Reason” adds another layer to the album’s soundscape, the defiant stomp beneath its overarching hiss providing a certain danceability as Matthews’ singing produces a necessary degree of mournful otherworldliness. Standout track “Autonomy” embraces the project’s inherent doom and gloom, seeing the duo collaborate with Cooper B. Handy, who plays a small role in the film. Deeper sonic routes are taken on “The Ride Home” and “Escape,” the intricate textures of Muller’s synths stinging like freshly dried blood encrusted upon one’s lips, rashes blossoming eventually into open sores, as sharp to the tongue as the metallic “Machina”—the collection’s finest inclusion—is to the ears. This melodically piercing faux-party anthem, made all the more enthralling by the presence of BOAN’s Mariana Saldaña, who also appears in the film, stands as one of Boy Harsher’s major musical achievements. In a rare moment of pure blue melancholia, closing number “I Understand” moves the listener beyond the film’s confines, and deep into the moonlight, which falls in pale porcelain curtains near the end of some tangled trail through abundances of unfathomable darkness. It is quite a conclusion, shifting the mood rather suddenly, and, despite its briefness, holding its own very well.

Across the span of these eight tracks, Matthews and Muller reveal themselves as deserving of more than mere parity with fellow cult artists. The Runner (Original Soundtrack) is entirely worth the listen, even for those yet to view the film. Fans of the genre will be pleasantly surprised at the album’s depths of sincerity and power, while casual listeners will surely be thrilled by its most energetic moments. Part retro-inspired horror score, part dance record, and part avant-pop promise of more to come, The Runner (Original Soundtrack) is a fun, chilling, and nostalgic achievement for Boy Harsher. One can only hope that Matthews and Muller’s next musical effort emerges to complement the feature-length horror masterpiece they are quite obviously capable of crafting. (www.boyharsher.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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