Top critical review
A Very Ambient & Moody Soundtrack
13 January 2019
The legacy Murray Gold left after orchestrating the score for Doctor Who over the past 10 years was never going to be an easy job for any composer to follow. Step forward Segun Akinola who, like the direction of the show itself, orchestrates a very moody and ambient soundtrack, one that struggles to find a consistent voice and feel to showcase Doctor Who. With many of the tracks building on long stretches of ambience and many songs blurring together with little definition, the soundtrack to Doctor Who’s eleventh season is a bit of a disappointment.
The soundtrack begins with the slightly tweaked main theme for Doctor Who. Unlike Capaldi’s tenure that used a more updated version of this, the theme song reverts back to the original feel, making good use of electronic synths and rumbling drums. From here, the 2 disk CD relies heavily on string segments to build up each track with a minimal use of drums and a heavy emphasis on echo effects to drag out each track. While there are still some conventional songs that feel like whispers of soundtracks past, they’re not given the same emphasis or kick that the previous soundtracks had to mirror the epic, triumphant feel of the show.
Having said all that, there are some stand out tracks here. The thirteenth Doctor’s theme is pretty impressive and most of the songs that utilize a motif do stand out – especially the Rosa Park tracks. The biggest problem with the soundtrack is the same that’s plagued the show this season – it doesn’t feel like Doctor Who. Instead, many of the tracks here wouldn’t be amiss in the middle of a blockbuster sci-fi or action film. Perhaps the profound lack of major key tracks and brass instruments is the issue or maybe it’s the overuse of echoes; whatever the problem, the soundtrack fails to inspire the same emotional highs the other soundtracks have.
It was never going to be easy for Segun Akinola to come in and mix things up with the orchestral score. While changes were bound to happen, the profound lack of memorable tracks ultimately makes this is a bit of a disappointment. There’s still some good stuff here and if you enjoy ambient soundtracks, I absolutely recommend checking this out. Ultimately though, the soundtrack blends a little too heavily into the background rather than demanding your attention which doesn’t quite fit the tone Doctor Who should be going for.