Night Club’s ‘Moonbeam City’ Soundtrack is Retro Bliss with Modern Charm

Cover art for Night Club's
Cover art for Night Club’s “Moonbeam City” soundtrack release. Photo Credit: Night Club/Milan Records/Moonbeam City

You’ve read Vehlinggo’s interview with Night Club, composers of the score for Moonbeam City. You’ve been watching the 80s retro Comedy Central show for the past several weeks.

But most importantly you’ve been doing everything you can to catch a few bars of the duo’s synthesizer-driven score for the Nagel-meets-Miami-Vice-meets-Archer animated sitcom.

That effort’s much less difficult now that the inimitable Milan Records has released the full soundtrack. Just as you expected, as a whole this collection is just as pretty, glossy, and tongue-in-cheek as the show it fuels. The soundtrack is also incontrovertibly a Night Club release, for even in their most 80s of moments the duo maintains their delectable Peaches-and-late-period-Britney vibe.

There are a couple of things you need to know going into this collection.

One, the songs are catchy as hell and for the most part are quality cuts that could stand alone outside of any connection to the story of Moonbeam City. I’d listen to the thumping “Skydancer” on repeat even if it were merely an instrumental interlude on a Night Club record. It’s a hell of a time.

Second, “Heartstroke” is by far the best track. It’s got a delightfully airy, free-wheeling vibe that’s bathed in emotional overtones. The College and off-album Highway Superstar sound serves as a nice counterweight to the mostly comedic vibe of the record.

There are some super silly tracks, like the Toto-interpolated “Aquatica,” the rockabilly “Cop This Town,” and the Martha Davis-esque “Flight of the Windstress,” that on their face seem bizarre as hell. However, in the context of the equally bizarre humor of the show they work well. And, of course, Night Club are excellent musicians, so delving into different genres or moods is a task they achieve with apparent ease.

Overall, Night Club (AKA Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks) have put together a rock-solid synth-heavy collection that adheres to the 80s retro homage themes of the TV show, while not losing their own identity as stripped-down electro punks who love Slayer as much as they do Kylie Minogue.

As an aside, I want to emphasize the importance of Milan putting out Night Club’s soundtrack LP, especially for fans of Drive.

Not only are the releases of Drive composer Cliff Martinez a regularity on the label, but the film’s director, Nicolas Winding Refn, has been curating compelling vinyl releases of modern and classic soundtracks for the label. He selected Disasterpeace’s It Follows score for a special release, along with the soundtracks for Robocop and Korean neo-thriller Oldboy.

The soundtrack for Refn’s pre-Drive film, Bronson, also had a vinyl release on Milan. It was the first Refn film to feature a Johnny Jewel song — specifically, Glass Candy’s “Digital Versicolor,” a cut by which some of Night Club’s music seems informed, even if indirectly.

The Moonbeam City soundtrack is out now via the usual digital suspects and will be available on CD on Dec. 18. It isn’t clear if there is a vinyl release planned at all.