Indie Folk trio, Daughter have collaborated with Square Enix, publisher of video game franchises such as Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider, to produce an original soundtrack for new game, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, the prequel to Life is Strange released in 2015. The story of the game centres around two realistic female protagonists who face real life issues such as bullying, suicide and teen pregnancy. The band took inspiration from the characters and challenges they face throughout the game to inform the soundscapes they created for Music from Before the Storm.
Although the piece was created as a soundtrack, it also works as a stand alone album, as was the band’s intention during the writing phase. Daughter have created a befitting soundtrack that reflects the themes of the game and the experiences of its characters while still maintaining their own distinctive sound. Staples of Daughter’s own sound can be identified throughout, for instance, chimey reverb-soaked guitar parts as well as Elena Tonra’s instantly recognisable vocals. There are a combination of instrumental and vocal-lead tracks. On ‘Glass’ and ‘Flaws’, Tonra’s ethereal vocals aid in creating another layer without the need for a narrative, while a lot of ‘Burn It Down’’s power and dystopian feel comes from the lyrics.
Overall there is a general feeling of angst and despondency however this is juxtaposed by some lighter, effervescent moments. The driving rhythms of ‘Hope’ arrive after an intense introduction providing some relief from the preceding darker tracks. Daughter’s earlier indie-folk sensibilities come to the fore on the light hearted ‘Voices’ and continue into finale ‘A Hole in the Earth’, drawing the album to a hazy reverberated close.
There is no doubt that Music from Before the Storm provides an apt musical accompaniment to Life is Strange: Before the Storm while simultaneously maintaining appeal as an album in its own right. From moments of liquid, reverb heavy soundscapes to solid, driving rhythms the soundtrack holds appeal for musicians and non-musicians alike.