Review : Badly Drawn Boy - Is There Nothing We Could Do?
PitchforkOnce upon a time, Badly Drawn Boy was a Next Big Thing. Damon Gough's debut as BDB, The Hour of Bewilderbeast, arrived back in 2000, winning the Mercury Music Prize (besting out, among others, fellow Mancunians Doves, who play on the record) and introducing Gough's shambling musical persona, one that veered radically from hushed pastoral folk to scattershot rock. He followed the strong debut with the impressive soundtrack to About a Boy, which found Gough increasingly focused while embracing his inner Harry Nilsson.
But by Have You Fed the Fish?-- and this was still only 2002-- Gough seemed to be running out of creative steam. The personal, dour One Plus One Is One didn't turn things around, and the dull Born in the UK failed to deliver as well. So: it's back to the well with Is There Nothing We Could Do?, Gough's return to the world of soundtracks, specifically "music inspired by the motion picture The Fattest Man in Britain," a British TV movie starring Timothy Spall as the titular big man.
Gough proved himself adept at spring-boarding off the work of others before, and the same holds true this time around. Bobbling between songs, themes, and snatches of dialogue, Gough captures the right tone of wistfulness and sensitivity in his typically pretty tunes-- melancholy croon-and-swoon chamber folk and pop with an emphasis on upright bass and piano. As with About a Boy, instrumental cues seamlessly rub against more traditional songs. And although most of us can only imagine how well Gough's touching tracks fit the film, he conveys a healthy mixture of sad and hopeful captured in cuts such as the title track, the gorgeous "Welcome Me to Your World", "Just Look at Us Now", "Wider Than a Smile", and "I'll Carry On", songs so winningly winsome they survive being recycled again and again across the set as incidental cues like "Guitar Medley"....full text
BbcDamon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy, returns three years after his last album, Born in the UK, with a low-key release which also comprises his second full soundtrack following 2002’s About a Boy.
Despite enjoying significant press attention around the release of 2000 debut The Hour of Bewilderbeast, which won the Mercury Prize, Gough’s star has waned of late. But this is not due to any dip in songwriting ability, and looking at the alternative popscape his influence can be clearly seen in several artists, from Jamie T to Jack Peñate.
The soundtrack to Caroline Aherne’s film The Fattest Man In Britain, Is There Nothing We Could Do? seems to summarise Gough’s thoughts on the topic through its title alone. With a song like All the Trimmings unlikely to have been an off-cut from previous albums, this collection is intrinsically linked to the film, and is far better than the soundtrack to an ITV1 drama should be. Gough’s surprise at Aherne’s request is mentioned in the sleeve notes, along with confirmation that he enjoyed the experience....full text
GuardianHis first new material in three years, Damon Gough's new album is music from and inspired by Caroline Aherne's new TV film The Fattest Man in Britain. Like 2002's About a Boy, it's a collection of delightful incidental music such as "All the Trimmings", and more traditionally structured songs like the title track. Against the odds, it hangs together neatly as a complete album. This leaves Gough, after a couple of years in self-confessed bewilderment, departing the decade as he entered it, on his own label at a creative peak. The boy is back in town....full text
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