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Badly Drawn Boy - About a boy OS (Twisted Nerve)

Shrouded in plenty of pre-publicity, this soundtrack from Badly Drawn Boy for the film adaptation of Nick Hornby's "About a Boy" has more than certainly lived up to the hype. The album contains eight new compositions and all the incidental music from the film. It can definitely be included in the realm of great soundtracks similar to Air - "Virgin Suicides", Aimee Mann - "Magnolia", where the music is of equal if not more importance and popularity to the film.

Manchester lad Damien Gough has made an album that I'm sure will stand in its own right as a superb follow up to "Hour of the Bewilderbeast". In the same laid back style, with mouth organ, strings, piano and fine singing, "About a Boy" lazily carries you along on a wave of melody and emotions.

The first single was 'Silent Sigh', a radio friendly song, currently receiving plenty of airplay. The pacy second track, 'A Peak you Reach' bounces and bounds along, keeping you humming. The first half of the album contains the real gem songs, however 'Donna and Blitzen' ties up the end neatly. 'Above you, below me' with the line "I will take you as you are, please accept me as I am" maybe an anthem for the hatted one Damien, who had a mixed reaction to his live performances when promoting the first album.

'Something to talk About' opens like 'Pissing in the wind' from his debut with plenty of piano. 'File me Away' features plucking strings, electronic piano, "la la's" and "doop doops" "you just be you, I'll be me okay". He follows his trend of big orchestral sounds with the instrumental pieces that allow him to fully flex his creative muscles in this area, beautifully performed by Damien and the London Metropolitan Orchestra.

'Delta' is one of the best tracks, while "S.P.A.T" (Single Parents Alone Together - you'd have to see the film!) is a funky instrumental with horns and a trombone building it up slowly and steadily. The bittersweet love song "A Minor Incident" - "if the chance should happen that I never see you again just remember that I'll always love you" makes use of Damien's fine harmonica playing and excellent lyric writing skills to create a love song without the cheese.

I thought maybe it wasn't fair to review this album without watching the movie, but in this case it didn't make much difference. I went along and really enjoyed the whole experience - the music fitted in perfectly, strengthening the scenes without ever taking over. Both the soundtrack and film are well worth checking out, but you'd probably get more pleasure from listening to the soundtrack over and over.

Celine O'Malley

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