It’s easy enough for film critics to give Drive their approval based on the calibre of Ryan Gossling’s performance or the fantastic direction of Nicolas Winding Refn; however, they would be excluding perhaps the best element of the film – its soundtrack. The dark and eerie tunes that pulsate throughout the film go hand in hand with the brooding, neo-noir feel of Refn’s independent masterpiece. The impact of the soundtrack is so great that it is almost impossible to walk out of the cinema without letting a couple of these spooky, 80s, retro tracks revolve around your mind.

The soundtrack begins with four vocalised songs before progressing into the instrumental score. The score written by former Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez dismisses the funky, percussive beats synonymous with The Chilli Peppers first two albums, and instead opts for a more orchestral, keyboard dominated score. The commanding keys and synthesisers give the soundtrack a very retro feel which is particularly apt during the opening credit sequence of the film where the letters are bright pink.

The opening track, entitled ‘Nightcall’ by electro artist Kavinsky – was not written specifically for Drive. This is astounding since the lyrics have an uncanny resemblance to the film and encapsulate both the internal struggle, which Gossling’s unnamed character faces, as well as preparing the audience for the gritty and lurid subject matter in the rest of the movie. The music acclimatises the viewer, with the keys and beat converging into a rhythm which ‘drives’ the song at the same time as Gossling’s character is seen driving through the dark streets of L.A.

Out of all the songs ‘Real Hero’ by College, will remain in rotation of your brain the longest. Although, on the surface, it appears to sound like  another 1980s, ‘synthpop’ song the track actually has a strongly beating pulse which along with the floating, reverberating vocals delivers an emotional pull that endears the audience to both Gossling’s character and to the song itself. The strength of the emotional pull is light enough to not be ‘corny’, and plays a role in transforming the film into something far more subtle than your average B-grade action movie.

Martinez certainly delivers on the score and is able to mimic the film’s emotional range by fluctuating from peaceful songs like ‘I Drive’, to downright violent pieces whose names like ‘Kick Your Teeth’ or ‘They Broke His Pelvis ‘cannot be considered to be subtle.

The real beauty of this album is that you don’t have to listen to it while watching the movie, because it’s just as effective through your earphones. Just a warning: you may not look as cool as Ryan Gossling when you cruise around in your car listening to this soundtrack throughout the night.