It's been about three years since Damon Gough released any new material, so it was a little disappointing to see that his new album was a soundtrack for/inspired by the new Caroline Aherne co-penned feature-length drama "The Fattest Man In Britain", however, any disappointment I felt soon dissipated when I listened to the album. Although this is, by far, the most consistently mellow piece of work Badly Drawn Boy has ever released, it is a thoroughly beautiful and extremely pleasing album, comprised of "proper" songs and incidental music/spoken word snippets from the TV drama. This soundtrack is very one-paced and you won't hear any of the pure energy found in Damon's earlier work, but that isn't necessarily a negative as there is something quite modestly grand about the whole project. There are numerous highlights; the title track is simply lovely, albeit a little sad, "Welcome To Your World" builds up to a powerful refrain and "Just Look At Us Now" is just radiating fragile beauty.
Although those are my personal highlights, the album is very good in its entirety (especially given the concept) and the sound is, on the whole, built around picked and strummed acoustic guitars, gentle, muted pianos and finished by masterful touches of brass and strings. This accomplished and mature work won't disappoint any existing fans of Badly Drawn Boy and may even be giving hints as to his future direction. If this is the case, by the music found on this soundtrack, we could be looking forward to something rather special from Damon in the next few years. I certainly hope so. On a side-note, I wasn't planning on watching the "The Fattest Man In Britain", but this album has got me intrigued, primarily because the snippets of dialogue on this album sound as if it could be very good. I hope it's worthy, because the soundtrack is mostly excellent and it deserves a well-written drama to be associated with.
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If i am to be honest, then Badly Drawn Boy's soundtrack to 'The Fattest Man In Britain' is a bit of a disappointment. There is no doubt that Damon Gough on top of his game is a great songwriter, as the title track and 'Welcome Me To Your World' will attest, it's just that there is not enough of what he is capable of on show here. It is his most subdued album yet, which is fine, the problem is that that it's structured around only five complete songs (e.g music & lyrics). Of which 'Is There Nothing We Could Do?' has at least two versions, and 'Guitar Medley' is an acoustic run through of these songs also. The rest of the album is made up of instrumental pieces, though pleasant enough (they may work within the context of the film, i haven't seen it), are somewhat inconsequential. There may be just enough here to keep us interested while we wait for whatever Badly Drawn Boy does next.
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I'm so surprised by this album. I always appreciated BDB's music and I always loved 1 or 2 tracks on each album. But this one is a gentle gem from start to finish. It's simply one of the best new albums by any artist that I've heard in a long time. This man is gifted in so many areas: he writes glorious melodies, arranges them with great subtlety and insight... and has a voice that is both melancholy and soothing. Thank you.