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The Company You Keep by Cliff Martinez

The Company You Keep

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The Company You Keep (Soundtrack) by Cliff Martinez
The Company You Keep (Soundtrack) by Cliff Martinez










The Company You Keep (Soundtrack) by Cliff Martinez

The Company You Keep
Composed by Cliff Martinez
Lakeshore Records (2013)

Rating: 7/10

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“THE COMPANY YOU KEEP holds the attention for its entire duration, despite never venturing beyond the simplicity of its foundations.”

The Attention You Keep
Review by Richard Buxton


2011’s DRIVE was certainly a milestone in the career of composer CLIFF MARTINEZ. The playlist for Nicolas Winding Refn’s savagely smooth drama burst into musical circles beyond film scores with its criminally cool tones, raising the profile of MARTINEZ dramatically in the process. THE COMPANY YOU KEEP is unlikely to make such musical waves - largely due to the film itself - but it is another indication that CLIFF MARTINEZ is clearly molding his own niche within film scoring and is continually improving with each score.

Two major themes make up the spine of THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, each developing the two emotional landscapes that make up the score. The suspense/action theme, first heard in “You Have A Full Green Light” (1), is comprised of propulsive synths that provide the foundation for a simple ascending motif that in this case is portrayed through the use of heavily delayed and distorted guitars. The pacing is dictated by the synth pattern underneath and MARTINEZ makes good use of this technique throughout the entire score. “Somewhere Someone Knows Something” (4) switches things up with a drop in pace that increases the intrigue without losing any momentum. In the score’s climactic cue, “I Met Your Daughter” (13), a bass guitar combines with the scattering synth-line to create the score’s highlight action set-piece. The theme itself is incredibly simple, and were it not for the stylistic application it would be entirely forgettable. As it is, the theme provides for simplistic, but satisfying intensity.

The other major theme heard makes for a much more relaxing listen, the sonic ambience lulling the score into a trance-like state between the action cues. This theme, crafted with heavy pads and a generous use of effects undergoes significantly less transformation across the sub-50 minute running time than the suspense theme. The descending-ascending motif bears a strong resemblance to Jesper Kyd’s dream-like “Rebel Base” theme for the game ‘Freedom Fighters’, acting as a welcome period of downtime whenever it surfaces.

The final rendition of this second theme, “Can’t Say I’m Happy To See You” (15), is simultaneously one of the score’s highlights and one of its failings. The piece provides closure for the entire musical experience with its development of the theme, but also magnifies the lack of growth within the score’s instrumentation and overall sound. MARTINEZ does continually shows how at ease he is within an electronic music environment, crafting textured sounds with great depth. These sounds generally lack the potential for growth throughout the score however, and subsequently the score lacks the payoff that one might be expecting by the time the final track rolls around. There is a general softness to the tones of the music on show that ultimately holds the score back from reaching a satisfying culmination of thematic development.

That said, THE COMPANY YOU KEEP holds the attention for its entire duration, despite never venturing beyond the simplicity of its foundations. This is certainly one of CLIFF MARTINEZ’s more palatable efforts and one that provides a foundation for the composer to continue his rise within film scoring.


Rating: 7/10


Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 You Have a Full Green Light 3:17  ****
2 We Could Have Made a Difference 2:38  ***
3 Who is Your Best Reporter 3:18  ***
4 Somewhere Someone Knows Something 4:26  ****
5 Diversion 4:01  ***
6 Weathermen 3:56  ****
7 Still Got the Juice 3:11  ***
8 Nothing But a Dream You Once Had 2:39  ***
9 On the 10 Yard Line 2:31  ***
10 The Cabin 2:07  ***
11 Put the Pieces 3:02  ***
12 Real Estate Records and Plot Maps 2:55  ***
13 I Met Your Daughter 4:04  ****
14 Father and Daughter Reunion 2:11  ***
15 Can't Say I'm Happy to See You 3:21  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 47 minutes  


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