For his directorial debut, Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman chose a screen adaptation of Bob Glaudini's off-Broadway play Jack Goes Boating, an offbeat romantic comedy about two couples in contemporary Manhattan. For the music, Hoffman, who co-produced this various-artists soundtrack album with music supervisor Susan Jacobs, has chosen a batch of indie rock tracks by the likes of Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, and Cat Power, mixing in a couple of excerpts of Evan Lurie's instrumental score along with some reggae and jazz. But despite what seems like an eclectic mix from reading the names on the back of the album cover, there is a consistent mood throughout, and that mood is introspective and low-key. In song after song, an acoustic guitar or solo piano accompanies a high-pitched voice singing in a moody manner. So, Fleet Foxes' "Oliver James" fits right in with rocksteady reggae group the Melodians' "Rivers of Babylon" and Cat Power's sadcore lament "Where Is My Love." Gradually, the mood lightens and the jazz content increases, with Mel Tormé's boppish reading of "Hello, Young Lovers" and Dave's True Story's neo-swing "Blue Moon" bringing up the tone before the closer, Bill Evans' modal "Peace Piece." This is a rare instance of a soundtrack album of varied music that conveys the subtle feel of a thoughtful film.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann