Release Date: 04.23.02
Record label: BMG / ARTISTDirect / XL
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
About a (Badly Drawn) Boy
by: bill aicher
After the immense critical success of his debut album, The Hour of Bewilderbeast (our #5 album of 2000), Damon Gough a.ka. Badly Drawn Boy took a slight departure by penning and performing the soundtrack for Nick Hornby's (High Fidelity) latest book to be adapted to film. Given Hornby's cultural rock icon status, it was only fitting that the winner of 2000's coveted Mercury Prize for best album be involved in some way or another.
Most noted for his imaginative airy compositional style, About a Boy finds the music simplified a bit from Bewilderbeast. Still, from the dainty opening tidbit of "Exit Stage Right" and the deeply melodic instrumentals of "N.Y.E" its obvious that rather than abandoning the complex compositions from before, Gough has instead gotten to the point where his works can be complex without being noticeably complex. It's a score of deeply impressive music throughout and even more so, fits the air of the film perfectly.
The ambling melodies of "A Peak You Reach" and "Something to Talk About" (where he even manages to fit the movie's title in - tastefully) harken back to some of the more melodic moments on Bewilderbeast. The album's finest moment, however, is the closing Christmas-nouveau of "Donna and Blitzen." It's a spectacular triumph of songwriting and composition with soaring strings, jangling bells, and superbly belted vocals.
Badly Drawn Boy returns November 5, 2002 with his true follow-up to Hour of Bewilderbeast, entitled Have You Fed the Fish?. It'll undoubtedly be just as wonderful, if not more so than Bewilderbeast, but in the meantime About a Boy works as a tidy side-project-pseudo-follow-up-filler. Now if only more soundtracks could follow suit... 18-Sep-2002 11:18 PM