Badly Drawn Boy

Born in the U.K. (Astralwerks)

No one's more British than Damon Gough, which may explain why he hasn't broken through in the States. If his brilliant score for the Hugh Grant film About a Boy failed to entrance Yanks in sizable numbers, the Springsteen nod contained in his new CD's title probably won't reverse the trend. And that's a pity, since Gough's latest release under his quirky nom de plume is as rich and satisfying as any of his discs to date. The songs here don't form a conventional narrative. Nevertheless, the ornate presentation often gives the proceedings the feel of a Broadway musical, especially on tracks such as "Welcome to the Overground," which contains a chorus rousing enough to make theatergoers demand a refund on their Rent. But Gough still leaves room for intimacy of the sort found on "Without a Kiss," a tune that matches the romanticism of anything in James Blunt's catalogue without leaving a treacly aftertaste. Americans have been missing out, and it's past time they learned more about a Badly Drawn Boy.

 
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