Soundtrack Review: ATTACK THE BLOCK

Allison Loring

by: Allison Loring
June 26th, 2011

Much can be (and has been) said about ATTACK THE BLOCK from, its monster movie adventure story to its frenetic pace to the accents and catch phrases of the block’s resident gang that are quickly becoming iconic. But beyond the otherworldly “visitors” that fall into the block or the gang of misfits that turn out to be much more than just thugs in hoods, the score that runs throughout the film is just as unique, with an unshakable beat that will forever be synonymous with ATTACK THE BLOCK.

Selecting British house music duo Basement Jaxx (Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe) to create the film’s score was a symbiotic choice, as their electronic sound blended perfectly with the chaotic pace of the film and alien foe the South Londoners take on in ATTACK THE BLOCK. Adding to the mix are tracks from composer Steven Price, rounding out the sound and keeping things interesting, but never out of step. The score is an impressive collection of original music, but it also includes splashes of artists such as KRS-One’s “Sound of Da Police” and Mikis Michaelides’ “Get That Snitch” as these two tracks were featured prominently in the film and had significance to the story.

Creating a score is an undertaking on its own, but to create one that is completely identifiable with the film it appears in brings that achievement to a whole new level. From the beginning of ATTACK THE BLOCK, Jaxx's “The Block” strikes up and you know you are in for a cinematic ride with pulsating beats and rhythms you will not soon forget. Jaxx prove they are not just a one-trick pony who simply take their well-known electronica and infuse it into something to throw up on screen. Instead they have created a score that is not only catchy, but also suspenseful and terrifying, helping to add that level of fear and insecurity needed in a horror film. “Sam Is Mugged” is dynamic with a near quiet beginning that then ramps up and backs down again, creating that unbalanced sound that lets you know something may be amiss, and throws in more classic score elements towards the end with a brass section that all but pushes you to the edge of your seat.

Price’s “I Need To Finish What I Started” pulls in the more classic string elements to create our hero anthem as gang leader Moses (John Boyega) faces his emotional turning point while Jaxx’s “Turn The Gas Up” dovetails off this emotion and brings us into the film’s climactic scene with “Moses vs The Monsters” bringing us full circle. This back and forth between Jaxx and Price prove that the trio worked seamlessly together to create a score that is not only thrilling, but emotionally resonant.

The score not only works to electrify the film, it also stands well on its own outside of it, honing in on the idea of tapping established artists as composers for the double benefit of getting fantastic music both in and outside of the theater. This idea does not always work (see Daft Punk’s score for TRON: LEGACY which I enjoyed in the film, but not outside of it), but Jaxx and Price have created a soundscape that is not necessarily tied to the film in its originality and scope.

Normally I am not a fan of extensive track listings for soundtracks because they can get monotonous and repetitive, but in the case of the music for ATTACK THE BLOCK, I simply could not get enough. Basement Jaxx and Price have created a score this is part thriller, part action, and part emotional backbone, but also a new infusion of electronic/horror which continues to push and reinvent the boundaries of film score. The score is infectious and as synonymous with the film as the look of the unfriendly attackers seeking their revenge on our gang of misfit heroes. Trust.

Grade: A

This soundtrack is available through Universal UK.

1. “The Block” – Basement Jaxx
2. “Sam Is Mugged” – Basement Jaxx
3. “Round Two Bruv” – Basement Jaxx
4. “It’s Raining Gollums” – Basement Jaxx
5. “Tooling Up” – Basement Jaxx
6. “Moses Is Arrested” – Basement Jaxx
7. “Tell Me I’m Dreaming” – Basement Jaxx
8. “Throat Ripper” – Basement Jaxx
9. “Rooftops” – Basement Jaxx
10. “Moses – Ninja” – Basement Jaxx
11. “Just Another Day” – Basement Jaxx
12. “They Want Moses” – Basement Jaxx
13. “Actions Have Consequences” – Basement Jaxx
14. “Eat My Hat” – Steven Price
15. “They Fell Out Of The Sky” – Steven Price
16. “I Need To Finish What I Started” – Steven Price
17. “Turn The Gas Up” – Basement Jaxx
18. “Moses vs The Monsters” – Basement Jaxx
19. “Moses The Hero” – Steven Price
20. “The Ends” – Basement Jaxx
21. “Sound of Da Police” – KRS-One

22. “Get That Snitch” – Mikis Michaelides

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