Thomas Napper's Jawbone is a British independent film about a former youth boxing champ who returns home in an effort to rebuild himself after hitting a personal low. It's a quasi-autobiographical effort from its lead actor Johnny Harris -- who also wrote the film and co-produced it -- and he's the guy who brought Paul Weller into the project. Weller has done a lot in his career, but he's never composed a soundtrack, so Jawbone is noteworthy for that reason alone, but it's also interesting because it doesn't follow conventional paths for soundtracks. Jawbone is a hybrid between long-form orchestrations, sculpted songs, and ambient soundscapes, a broad sonic panorama that also reflects many of Weller's strengths. The songs "The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe" and "Bottle" hail back to "English Rose," while "Jawbone" simmers to funky wah-wah rhythms and swaths of psychedelic guitars. These grab the attention -- the other three short selections are essentially incidental music, even "Jawbone Training" with its hyperactive hi-hats -- but the album's centerpiece is its opener, "Jimmy/Blackout," a 21-minute suite that builds from atmospheric electronics to a shimmering sung denouement from Weller. If "Jimmy/Blackout" drifts instead of commands attention, that's the point: like so many of the best soundtracks, it's mood music to be absorbed and felt, not heard.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine