The composer’s latest for Nicolas Winding Refn proves they’re artistic soulmates.
This is Martinez’s third collaboration with Refn—he captured the zeitgeist with his score for 2011’s Drive and also worked on Refn’s divisive follow-up Only God Forgives—and also his most assertive. Where those soundtracks trafficked mainly in synth-heavy ambiance and shattering moments of dissonance, The Neon Demon’s 23 tracks are much more concerned with melody. Driving backbeats ground many of the tracks, as do infectious synth burbles and chugging trails of distortion. Some moments are strikingly pretty, others deeply unpleasant; none of it, though, is lacking in personality.