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CD: Town, The (2010)

Review Rating:   Very Good
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September 14, 2010

Tracks / Album Length:

16 tracks / (41:58)



Harry Gregson-Williams, David Buckley


Special Notes:

6-page colour foldout booklet

Comments :    

Harry Gregson-Williams and David Buckley (TV’s The Good Wife) created an industrial synth score for Ben Affleck’s bank robbery film, and like the former’s industrialized score for Spy Game (2001), The Town is a blend of percussion textures, digital sound clusters, and quiet mood pieces meant to enhance moments of introspection, and add quiet emotional subtext to withdrawn, conflicted characters.

What’s nice about The Town is the way it captures the journey as characters move between intense situations to quiet moments and bits of fleeting, civil normalcy. Sustained chords on electric guitar convey warmth in “Doug Reflects,” although the bass chord that closes the cue becomes gnarled, setting up the score’s shift to intense, brooding material.

”FBI Show & Tell” is synth textures layered with a fat analogue bass pulse, delicate waves of strings that recede in place of a heartbeat, and fuzzy electrified tones. The blurring of sounds – such as the reverse-processed notes in “Oxycontin” – is nevertheless given some grounding and scope from the orchestral backing, and like most cues on the album, the moods tend to shift fast, and cue lengths average between 2-3 mins.

Most of the score bleeds in and out, creating an impression of a dramatic bank robbery and the desperate perpetrators rather than covering lengthy montages. The composers sustain tension by combining unresolved chords with steady pulses, and conflicts are usually supported with percussive textures of which components are pulled back or isolated to specific frequencies, allowing for the introduction of heavier material. “Nuns with Guns” is illustrative, as tension is created by pinched notes and swelling strings goosed with a steady increase of thick bass lines, blurred low tones, and rhythmic patterns with the tails of certain notes digitally clipped.

The Town isn’t an action highpoint in Gregson-Williams’ work, but it’s a good sampling of his punchy style scaled down to a more basic drama about characters and moral consequences rather than bombastic action.

The 41 mins. album is beautifully engineered, and some of the featured musicians include Gregson-Williams on piano, and Heitor Pereira and Anthony Lledo (Frostbitten) on guitars.


© 2010 Mark R. Hasan

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