King of Thieves – Benjamin Wallfisch

As a reviewer, you sometimes have to figure out what to review next. I have been to a movie in the cinema of which the music was just not really special. Writing a review about a score like that is not a fun thing to do: not for me as a reviewer and not for you as a reader (since it is not really a score worth checking out) – and maybe even writing the score was no fun for the composer either, because he probably only got to produce what the director ordered.. Luckily, I stumbled onto the score from the movie King of Thieves, with music composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, while I was just browsing the internet.

After the first couple of notes from “Reader’s Theme,” I knew I wanted to review this score. King of Thieves is a heist movie, which means all the musical tropes of that genre can be used, resulting in a jazzy score with a lot of saxophones, trombones, trumpets, electric piano, bass guitar and flutes that go really crazy from time to time. There can also some string instruments be heard, but they have a supporting role in this score. The main theme itself is jazzy, with melodic bass guitar lines and a simple melody on piano laid on top of that and brass bursts in support. The theme surfaces periodically throughout the whole album. “The Scheme” is another joyful jazzy song, including two flutes playing fast solos in each ear that makes you keep nodding your head while listening. Jazz continues to play the main role throughout the whole score. When not much music is needed, there are still the drums quietly playing in the background with some extra effects keeping the pace, making it easier for the other musicians to start playing again when more music is needed, as can be heard in, for example, “Blinking Red Light.”

“Night of the Garden” is easily my favorite track on the album. It has a relaxing start with the bass guitar and piano popping in and out while the drums keep the pace. In the middle, hints of the classic piece “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” written by Tchaikovsky can be heard, and afterwards, you can feel the build up in the music. The brass and the saxophones start to appear more and more, working towards a great climax where the trumpet player is screaming two extremely high notes. “Sugar Plum Raid” takes “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” a bit further by creating a jazzy version of it. “The Morning After the Night before” has a beautiful solo for cello, which is a wonderful change from all the jazz music, the end of the track with the drums is, however, a bit out of place. The same goes for “Train Escape:” after hearing the theme, it transitions into weird electronic melodies, which do not really fit with the rest of the score. The next couple of tracks are also not jazzy in sound and contain more tension instead, where we can hear the string instruments in the foreground. Halfway through the track “Police Sting” the jazz suddenly returns in full force, ending the track in high spirits. “Reader Arrested” is also a track with some emotional string instruments and also includes a whisper of a trumpet solo in the background. “King of Thieves” ends this score perfectly with the theme, crazy flute play, supporting strings and screaming trumpets.

The album is not long: it is only 42 minutes, but in this short time there is not much that is not pleasant to listen to. Personally, I think that this score is just pure fun and joy and is one that I can listen to when I am in a good mood, or when maybe my spirits need to be lifted.

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Tracklist

The highlights are in bold.

  1. Reader’s Theme (1:16)
  2. The Scheme (1:58)
  3. Diamond Education (2:08)
  4. What About My Privacy? (2:27)
  5. Load In (2:57)
  6. Blinking Red Light (1:44)
  7. Night at Hatton Garden (4:20)
  8. Sugar Plum Raid (2:08)
  9. The Morning After the Night Before (3:42)
  10. Train Escape (2:01)
  11. Where’s Basil (4:36)
  12. Tracking the Lads (1:13)
  13. I’m the Guv Now (3:56)
  14. Police Sting (1:45)
  15. Reader Arrested (2:55)
  16. King of Thieves (3:15)

Total length: 42 minutes
Milan Entertainment Inc (2018)

Author

  • Anton is the editor-in-chief and founder of Soundtrack World. After writing about film music occasionally, he thought it was time to create his own site to celebrate music from film but also other media. Next to working on this website as a hobby Anton has a full-time job in IT and plays the tuba in a local orchestra.

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