By: Carly Kane
Chords begin to play, softly at first - then louder. Cinematic-like heaviness fills the train car I’m sitting in. Suddenly, I’m in the middle of a movie trailer, mystery and drama racing through my veins. Technically, I’m just on my way to work; the haunting theme song from Netflix original series Stranger Things playing in my ears. Inside my head, however…
Stranger Things has risen to cult-like popularity as of late - just as we were all getting over PokemonGo. I have not been able to see a day pass without someone bringing up the series to me.
With an 80s-Stephen-King-meets-The-Goonies-type of vibe, the show creates a mix of nostalgia, innocence and natural human fear. The incredibly well-written, emotion-driven television series has an equally as amazing soundtrack.The strangest thing about the new series is how we have not heard of the band behind the soundtrack before this.
The mysterious band, S U R V I V E, has risen to popularity alongside the series. S U R V I V E started in 2008 out of Austin, Texas. Signed to multiple labels, they released their first album in 2010. They have three studio albums, the Stranger Things soundtrack being one of the latest releases after their new single, Wardenclyffe (which was conveniently released at the height of the Stranger Things craze).
The instrumental band mixes modern electro-synth with orchestra riffs that sound like they come from an old church organ. This soundtrack was released a few months after Radiohead’s newest album “A Moon Shaped Pool,” which follows a similar haunting simple synth sound. S U R V I V E and Radiohead alike use simplicity to evoke emotion through repetitive echoing chords in this new wave, simple electro genre.
The names of the songs on S U R V I V E’s album include titles such as “Kids,” “Eleven,” “A Kiss,” and “After Sarah.” Instead of a fluid score - where the songs transition into one another as one long piece - that many movies and shows use, S U R V I V E makes each song personal to the exact scene it is used for. Throughout the soundtrack, S U R V I V E effortlessly captures the wide spectrum of emotions that happen in each episode. Their songs will go from gut-wrenching, fear-inducing ballads to light romantic chords that embody softer, lullaby-like melodies. One of the softer songs, “Eleven,” has a feminine, music box type of sound that accurately depicts the young female character Eleven in the show.
Taking the theme song out on a crowded underground subway made me feel like everyone in the train car - myself included - was about to meet our inevitable demise. This soundtrack proves that lyrics are not necessary to effectively convey certain messages and emotions.
S U R V I V E has perfected mixing modern electro synth with classical music in a way that gives any listener sound-induced goosebumps. Their spacey intergalactic sound has me convinced that if aliens are out there, they are listening to this band.
Order their music here.