Faith and doubt, hope and despair, miracles and disappointments, these are the themes of Mark Pellington's film Henry Poole Is Here, and they are the themes considered in this various-artists soundtrack album full of folk/rock singer/songwriter music. In song after song, an arrangement is built around a strummed acoustic guitar and a wheezy tenor voice singing a lyric that treats the issues the movie engages. "You can be anyone," the singer in Hellen Stellar declares in "10 (This Time Around)." "Why can't you take a chance?," asks Zach Broocke in "Why Can't You." Such performers are typical of the relatively obscure artist list, the best-known names from which probably are Eels, the Bravery (whose selection, appropriately, is "Believe"), and Badly Drawn Boy. Actually, the songwriters are generally better known than the performers. Joshua Radin turns in a cover of Yazoo's "Only You"; John Linton sings Ben Harper's "Morning Yearning"; Jack the Bear interprets the Verve's "Lucky Man"; and Michael Dickes appropriates the Bruce Springsteen rarity "Devil's Arcade." But no matter the names involved, the mood and the sound remain the same throughout, as one midtempo song after another finds a singer gruffly embracing optimism in what seem to be generally pessimistic circumstances.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann