The first time that the music for The Town breaks into full-on action mode, about one minute into “Bank Attack” (the second track) , it does so for less than 10 seconds, takes a short tingling break, and then pulses back into action again. This happens a few more times during the track with the pulse never acquiring an exact rhythm. This effectively leaves the listener hanging on in a musical limbo: it’s clear that there’s more action coming, but when and how much of it will there be? That the following track (the contemplative “Doug Reflects”) is a rather straightforward pensive piece of string work adds all the more emphasis to the powerful role that music can play in establishing a film’s dramatic core.

Composer Harry Gregson-Williams (collaborating, as he frequently does, with David Buckley on this one) previously worked with director Ben Affleck on Affleck’s directorial debut, the critically acclaimed Gone Baby Gone. Gregson-Williams has worked with a diverse set of directors throughout his nearly two decade career, including Joel Schumacher, Mike Newell, and Tony Scott.

With only 41 minutes of music – spanning 16 tracks – it’s a bit difficult to establish a thematic center in a soundtrack, but Gregson-Williams and Buckley manage it with relative ease. In fact, it’s a surprisingly thrilling collection of music the duo has put together here (listen to the driven “Nuns With Guns” for a clear example of this). Though a full orchestra is credited in the liner notes, there’s a solid electronic sound present in most of the music here (gentler tracks like “The Letter” work to overcome this with soft strings and a light piano solo). Overall, it’s clear that Gregson-Williams deserves the reputation he’s established as a pioneer of combining electronic music textures and orchestral elements. The music for The Town pushes along with energy and force when necessary but also knows when to take a break and reach for the emotion.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Enjoying some action with your emotional depth
Stay Away if: You want orchestra or electronic, but not both

To purchase the soundtrack for The Town, visit Amazon

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