Album: Badly Drawn Boy, Is There Nothing We Could Do? (Big Life)

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The Independent Culture

Badly Drawn Boy's first soundtrack, for 2002's film of About a Boy, showed him to be a skilled wielder of homely moods and sympathetic tones, both characteristics also in full effect on this soundtrack to Caroline Aherne's TV film The Fattest Man in Britain, starring Timothy Spall in the title role.

As with most soundtracks, a little is made to go a long way, with a few themes recurring several times in slightly different guises, but the subtlety of Damon Gough's design is there from the "Opening Theme", in which the dryly poignant piano-and-organ theme is flecked with fragments of glistening percussion and smears of backwards guitar. Similarly, in "All the Trimmings", the delicate piano and glockenspiel piece is intriguingly fattened with zither and French horn. The title track is the most effective of the handful of songs, Gough making typically understated but acute observations like "the time you waste would still turn into memories" over a gently undulating waltz of piano and guitar soothed with strings like a carer's caresses. It's reprised later on, in a guitar version in which the mood echoes that of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends", an air of wistful dignity brusquely shattered by the arrival, in the ensuing "Big Brian Arrives", of Bobby Ball as the fat chap's cajoling manager.

Download this Is There Nothing We Could Do?; Opening Theme; All the Trimmings