John Carpenter
Lost Themes II


4.5
superb

Review

by Simon Killip CONTRIBUTOR (144 Reviews)
April 15th, 2016 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lost Themes II fills in the cracks and offers a much tighter album.

Since John Carpenter's venture into the musical realm in 2015 with Lost Themes -- a collection of archived tracks that were dug out from the dusty cabinet and overhauled for release on said album -- it appears he's caught a buzz from its release; hanging up his camera in favour of his synth, a world tour in motion, and this new LP, it looks as though John Carpenter is in it with both feet.

Just a years on from his debut and already Lost Themes II has dropped. From my first spin of the album, it quickly became apparent that this was a much more thought-out record: it has more depth, it's much more cohesive, and definitely an experience that will take a few listens before it all sets in. The LP feels like a collective whole than a mishmash of different vibes and tones, like its predecessor was. There's also a few nice surprises along the way, "Hofner Dawn" and "Windy Death" go for the same sonic-picture painting a lot of black metal bands are doing these days: the former has more of a medieval influenced soundscape, while "Windy Death" conveys a calming, cold feel; it's an eye-widening moment when you come to these tracks as they create such a vivid and bright picture that's quite different to anything John has done before it. Extremely melodic and one of the highest moments on here. "Dark Blues" and "Virtual Survivor" go for the signature droning synth and 80s snare drum sound everyone knows him for, complete with solos. While the first three tracks on here are where the album sits strongest; showing optimistic signs of a solid foundation for future records to come. All three tracks are strong and interesting compositions that contain all the hallmarks of his previous works, but bring the spice and freshness needed to maintain interest. "Distant Dream" is a building track, that keeps building until it explodes into this almighty, distorted wall of power that once its peaked, creeps back into its build-up form again before finishing -- a real highlight. While the album closer, "Utopian Facade", is a nice touch, and a fantastic, and epic, way of finishing off the album. It's a song that showcases and hones in on Carpenter's writing abilities -- and as a musician -- proving he has a little more about him than the styles you've come to associate with his music.

There is very rarely a dull moment here. "Angels Asylum" was the only track on here that left my mind to wonder, but, then again, it never really did anything for me when it was released as a single either. It's the only song on here that lacks the layers or punch; it feels a little flatline and weak compared to the rest of the tracks on here. Its saving grace is the medieval riff that brings the song to a close, but it's so left field that it feels like a separate song entirely. It would have been better suited as an intro to "Hofner Dawn."

Overall, this album improves on everything that was lacking on last record: songs on here feel far more fleshed out and better crafted than they did on Lost Themes. The debut was a great record, but it had moments of stale or dated sounds, and dullness. This time, the album is more tightly knit and manages to hold my interest throughout, every time. The biggest praise I can give Lost Themes II is that it proves John Carpenter has a lot more to offer fans in the future, and with an album of this calibre I can't wait to hear what else he has in store for us.

Superb.

Edition: C̶D̶, VINYL, M̶P̶3̶

Packaging: The Vinyl comes in a standard vinyl sleeve, but the middle has a window to see the inner sleeve behind it. (A style of packaging David Bowie's Blackstar came in, and a style I'm loving.)

Special Edition: Comes with the bonus track "Real Xeno."



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2016


13424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really wasn't expecting a lot from this after feeling a little underwhelmed by the singles, but by God did it deliver!



As always constructive criticism welcome guys.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2016


13224 Comments


good review man

havent seen any of his films except The Thing i think

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle - Marked For Death

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2016


13424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Best horror film ever made for me. ha (Next to the Shining.) Anything past the 80s ranges from average to piss poor though.



His music career looks much more promising these days, this album is siiiccckkk.

RivalSkoomaDealer
April 15th 2016


1600 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lost Themes >>>>>>>>>>>>> Lost Themes II

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Vigilance Perennial

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2016


13424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah way m8, this is a much better offering.

PappyMason
April 16th 2016


5702 Comments


I need to hear this.

cryptside
April 16th 2016


2397 Comments


I need to listen to this; I love Carpenter and am excited to hear a more focused album from him. Pos'd on the review btw, very nice work.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2016


13424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers cryptside. Yeah it was a big surprise, really enjoyed it.

BeeRyan
May 24th 2016


1293 Comments


the thing, halloween, and in the mouth of madness are the best carpenter films

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2016


13424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Escape From New York, They Live, Big Trouble In Little China?

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2016


13424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Basically, anything up to the late 80s is his best work.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2016


30763 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i now think II is better than I

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
September 28th 2016


13424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I fully agree academy, miles better. I'm looking forward to seeing him next month.



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