The TV drama was the perfect introduction to the underrated alternative music trio. The dark sonic sounds used across the show compelled me to uncover the Killing Eve soundtrack, curated by David Holmes, a member of the band.
Both Unloved albums, Guilty Of Love and Heartbreak, have been featured across the series and certain tracks have become musical trademarks of the show. ‘(Sigh)’ is used to signify Villanelle (Jodie Comer)’s presence, and is often used before, during or after her kills. With its rapidly alternating tempo, haunting strings and Jade Vincent’s low, chilling vocals, it’s no wonder that the piece has been used so extensively across the show. The lyrics sound fragmentary and almost incomprehensible to the ear, thrusting dramatic musicality into the spotlight and using this as an aid for Villanelle’s character.
On the contrary, the highly featured track, ‘After Dinner’, is used in conjunction with scenes starring MI6 agents Eve (Sandra Oh) and Carolyn (Fiona Shaw). Likewise, this is incredibly fitting given that the song radiates a more relaxed soundscape by utilising a steadier tempo, yet still maintains its darker edge through deep guitar/bass riffs and light vocals made all the more haunting through reverberation.
There is no question that the star of Unloved’s music is its atmosphere and effortless ability to conjure a mood in seconds, a feature which is undoubtedly necessary for a drama series. The darkest, most suspenseful tracks used in the series include ‘Unloved Heart’ and ‘Tell Mama’, utilising low synth drones and basslines which oscillate between the same two notes, never quite reaching a climax. ‘Tell Mama’ particularly unnerves me, the shifting of voices and a vast palette of dark sounds calls on a vague, inexplicable fear which derives from the immersive nature of the show.
Amongst my favourite Unloved tracks, the recently released ‘Strange Effect’ undoubtedly claims the top spot. The track, featuring Raven Violet, is a reworked version of The Kinks’ classic ‘This Strange Effect’. Significantly more hypnotising, Unloved’s version of the song is used as the musical backdrop to the infamous bus scene in Episode Three, Season Three of Killing Eve, a somewhat clumsy, comic reunion between Eve and Villanelle, to say the least. The song is precisely symbolic of the relationship between the two women: ‘You’ve got this strange effect on me, and I like it’. And sung in Violet’s alluring vocals against a steady, sultry tempo, it’s no wonder that the song has become so popular amongst fans of the drama.
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‘Strange Effect’ is out today with vocals by Raven Violet. The Kinks cover features in episode 3 of Killing Eve. There’s a place within the resonance of her voice, between the tone and the body, that’s a whole world. It’s beautiful there. She takes us there all the while this strangely compelling love incantation plays. Thank you , sweet Raven — thank you for finding us.
Unloved have truly made their mark through the Killing Eve series, their reception being overwhelmingly positive and praised by many. The atmospheric basis of their tracks makes them the perfect contenders for the creation of television drama soundtracks.
To support Unloved further, check out their website here!