TowelheadBased on the popular novel by Alicia Erian, the new film Towelhead centers around a young woman named Jasira who is sent to live with her Lebanese father in Houston, Texas. With a script written by American Beauty playwright Alan Ball, it’s an artistic yet deliberate look into the secret lives of suburban families of America. Along for the ride is eight-time Academy Award nominated composer Thomas Newman.

And his work here is pretty distinct. Opening quickly and assertively with  the heavy drums of “Nothing is Private,” Newman sets the tone of the score and the film by declaring that there won’t be much held back here. And though the drums don’t really come back into this kind of heavy play until “Rifaut Maroun” a few tracks later, by then, they’re whipping up a veritable drum frenzy. Rhythm does play a very important part in this score, though, with each track using various types of drums and beats to tell a story.

After the drum explosion in “Rifaut Maroun,” the music expands into a playfully poppy mixture of Middle Eastern beats and cymbals along with driving guitar in the short but enjoyable “Glamour Shots.” One of the last tracks, “Rain and Good Weather,” provides the score’s emotional side (themes that were first addressed in the superb “Jazira Maroun” come back into play here) with slower and more deliberate strings gradually building and combining with chimes to a sort of melancholy happiness.

Though the entire album is just shy of 15 minutes, there’s a lot of atmosphere and emotion put into those minutes and Newman makes sure to provide listeners with something that is both enjoyable and to the point. While this album could have certainly been longer, the 15 minutes included are more than enough to enjoy what Thomas Newman has created and look forward to his next composition.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: A quick (15 minutes or so) dose of impressive Middle Eastern tunes
Stay Away if: You like long, established pieces
If you only get one, make it this one: Jazira Maroun (End Title) – they’re all good, but at 3:48, it’s the most music for your money

To purchase the score for Towelhead, visit Amazon

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