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Sunday, March 18, 2007

CD REVIEW - Little Children

Little Children
Music by Thomas Newman
Silva screen SILCD1226 (UK)
19 Tracks 38:03 mins

After the good notices Thomas Newman received for his retro-styled score for the equally retro-styled film The Good German, he returns to his more familiar style for this contemporary drama dealing with the tricky subject of paedophilia from director Todd Field, whose film was nominated for three Academy Awards.
As a result, it's another score which reveals moments of brilliance and others of frustration due to the brevity of some tracks, as is often the case with Newman's albums. Indeed, the first four tracks on this CD go by quickly and without any great substance, although the tentative classical strings of "Tissue" and child-like piano of "2 Hillcrest" promise more. Track 5 "Bandshell" is where we first find some meat in the form of a light and comical pizzicato with lush string backing. "Red Bathing Suit" follows, with its ethereal piano lead; and then the gentle, repetiitive walker "Lucy." "In the same vein is the nice paino-lead drifter "Pool days."
Things take a more sinister turn with the edgy marimba piece "Weekends Were Difficult" and the threatening "What's the Hurry?", but lighten up briefly with the swinging source track "Fly Me to the Moon," before things take a downturn again with the anxious "May," and the return of the marimba in "A Sniff or Two."
The lonely piano of "Be a Good Boy" leads into the propulsive strings of "Slutty Kay," which I wish could have been longer, but the "End Title" makes up for things somewhat, although at over 7 minutes if it perhaps a touch too long. Nevertheless, at its best, it's mighty fine, almost celebratory, with rhythmic strings, strident at times, and ending with gentle piano. Often Newman will come up with at least one track to treasure on an album and, in this case, this is the one.
Unlike most correspondents, I found Newman's score to The Good German rather dull. This is much more like the Thomas Newman we know and admire and will I feel hold more appeal for his fans.


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