Henry Poole Is HereThe soundtrack for Henry Poole is Here is a melancholy but hopeful affair filled with breathy vocals and dramatically plucked guitar strings. The film centers around a cynical man (Luke Wilson) who seeks to isolate himself in suburbia and ends up finding love and redemption and all those things most people find in uplifting family movies. And while the film has been mostly written off by reviewers as a bit overwrought and underwhelming, the score comes off slightly better, mostly by hitting much more subtle notes while pushing its message.

Though this soundtrack opens with an overdramatic and over-explanatory title track by Ron Irizarry boasting lyrics like “Hold on to your faith and hope and love…” which aren’t quite as inspiring as they attempt to be, and ends with the wailing and repetitive “Hold On” by Avon, where the lyrics “If you can hold on, then you can let go” repeat a few dozen times, there’s still a lot to like here. Most important is the clear thematic scheme that these songs put forth. There’s no question that this collection of songs works well together and this cohesiveness is a big strong point for this soundtrack. From the experimental sound of the Eels to Jack the Bear’s more standard pop-rock delivery, there’s a distinctive melancholy flow to the entire album, and most songs seem to deal with identity, love or lost love.

“I wish you could see me now, I wish I could show you how I’m not who I was” declares Brandon Heath in “I’m Not Who I Was.” Similarly, Jack the Bear claims “I feel no disgrace with who I am” in his track “Lucky Man.” When Joshua Radin whisper-sings “All I needed was the love you gave / all I needed for another day” in his solemn and heartfelt “Only You” it’s a high point of the album, though it’s hard to beat Eels on sheer hipness. When lead singer Mark Oliver Everett mumbles “Don’t have too many friends, never felt at home / always been my own man, pretty much alone” it pretty much sums up the tone of the album. And though not every song here works, this album makes a surprise showing for such a small film.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: Doing homework on a rainy day
Stay Away if: You’re looking for something upbeat
If you only buy one track, make it this one: “Love Of The Loveless” – Eels

To purchase the soundtrack for Henry Poole is Here, visit Amazon

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