John Carpenter’s Lost Themes II (2016) Music Review

John Carpenter Lost Themes 2

The Master of Horror cements his reputation as a Synth Rock God with this sophomore collection of sci-fi Noir tracks!

John Carpenter Lost Themes 2

A musician friend once told me, “You’ve got your whole life to release your first album. You’ve only got about twelve months to release your second one.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement. All the nuggets of gold you’ve been collecting in your brain for years get purged into that first record, and if it’s a hit with critics and fans, you need to get a follow up out while the iron is still hot. Rushed creativity probably accounts for the majority of all sophomore slumps.

With the release of “Lost Themes II,” John Carpenter has mostly dodged that bullet. This must be the music Snake Plissken hears in his head as he walks down the street to the corner store to buy a pack of smokes.

Carpenter’s first “Lost Themes,” released last year in February of 2015, was a collection of synthesized music tracks to imaginary films made only in the cult film director’s mind. Just like that best-selling album from Sacred Bones Records (, “Lost Themes II” was written and recorded with his son, Cody, and his godson, Daniel Davies, who is actually the progeny of The Kink’s Dave Davies.

Again, or maybe even more so this time, you can feel the influence of Rock n Roll merging with Carpenter’s synthesizer attack. The opening track, “Distant Dream,” jumps right into the action mid riff as if the last track from “Lost Themes I” had paused momentarily and suddenly came back to electronic life. Electric and acoustic guitars accompany nearly every other track on the record backed by pounding drum beats and pulsing synth rhythms.

These second career recordings of the popular horror director and creator of Michael Myers have generated enough interest to spawn a LIVE summer tour that is currently booked through October 31st to play through Greece, Spain, Iceland, Switzerland, the United States and ultimately wrap up in London on Halloween.

Highlights on “Lost Themes II” include the driving “Angel’s Asylum,” which plays like “Tubular Bells” on steroids interpreted by Goblin. “Dark Blues” is probably the closest thing Carpenter has recorded to echoing the rain slicked, sci-fi Noir of “Escape from New York.” “White Pulse” might be the most ethereally beautiful piece on the record, while a tribute to “Bela Lugosi” plays like an 80’s movie salute to the 1930’s horror star.

The only thing keeping “Lost Themes II” from surpassing the original album is the positioning of the last couple of tracks, which begin to blur together into an improvised, pseudo New Age acid trip. Unlike the final track on Carpenter’s first synth-onic odyssey, “Night,” which ended up as the second single and music video to be released from that project, “Lost Themes II” fades away instead of burning out like a proper rocker should.

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