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 either. 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 theater-goers 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.
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Americans have been missing out, and it's past time they learned more about a Badly Drawn Boy.