With several successful political thriller scores already under his belt, Jerry Goldsmith approaches the genre from a new and refreshing perspective with 1996's City Hall. The music forgoes the traditional suspense dynamics for a jazz-influenced approach favoring atmosphere and texture, creating a dark, seedy ambience that evokes the backroom sleaze of the political machine in vivid detail. Goldsmith's understated score spotlights solo clarinet and abrasive strings instead of more conventionally robust arrangements, and it's a tribute to the composer's mastery that he still generates palpable suspense without the usual bells and whistles. Not everything here works, but it's a pleasure to hear Goldsmith continuing to embrace new ideas in the autumn of his career.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny