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Is There Nothing We Could Do


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  • Following the huge success of his About a Boy soundtrack, the music scene's most notable beanie-hat wearer, Badly Drawn Boy, returns to score another British comedy-drama in his own unique restrained manner. While the Hugh Grant-starring adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel showcased his graceful and melodic indie pop on the big screen, Is There Nothing We Could Do? is strictly for the small screen, allowing Damon Gough's hushed tones, subdued instrumentation, and melancholic lyrical themes to appear even more understated than usual. Accompanying ITV1's The Fattest Man in the World, a Caroline Aherne-penned dramatization of a housebound fifty-something struggling with his record-breaking weight, its 15 tracks aren't as fully formed as his more conventional LPs, with the likes of simple acoustic strum "A Gentle Touch" and somber, classical, piano-led "Army in the Garden" nothing more than brief incidental pieces. Indeed, there are only six songs on which Gough lends his vocals, one of which, the title track, appears twice, both in its stripped-back original form and string-soaked reprise. Elsewhere, "Wider Than a Smile" picks up the pace slightly with some skittering military rhythms underpinning its sad gentle piano lines and stirring cinematic strings, "Welcome to Your World" starts out as a maudlin torch song before bursting into an uplifting slice of Divine Comedy-esque Baroque pop, while closing number "I'll Carry On" is a beautifully fragile ballad which perfectly complements the heart-rending subject matter of the show's most emotional scene. Despite its lack of verse/bridge/chorus structures, the whole album hangs together surprisingly well, thanks to several instrumentals interspersed with lines of dialogue, such as "All the Trimmings," which fuses subtle brass riffs and twinkling chords with Georgie Godwin's (Timothy Spall) eye-watering account of his super-sized breakfast order, and the minimal ambience of "The Letter," where Amy's (Aisling Loftus) poignant final speech is unlikely to leave a dry eye in the house. The first release on his own BDB label, Is There Nothing We Could Do? proves that although his star may have waned since his Mercury Music Prize-winning glory days, Badly Drawn Boy's ability to create the perfect low-key soundtrack hasn't. ~ Jon O'Brien
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