Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy, has become more than a sensation in Europe. The album is little musical interludes mixed in with lovely melodies that paint a tapestry of undeniable passion.
Although you may find The Hour Of Bewilderbeast hard to swallow as a whole, you won’t have a hard time digesting it in pieces. For example, “The Shining” begins as a useless piece of lovely orchestral banter, but at the tail end breaks out a lovely song.
Badly Drawn Boy has long been a sort of prodigal son in England with his skittish Eps that led him to be labeled the ‘British Beck’. But their sounds are miles, if not lifetimes, apart. BDB is a cloud gazer. A people watcher. A soul stealer. Beck, on the other hand, is too busy trying not to act cool so everyone thinks he is.
Bewilderbeast is a monster so timid and fragile that if you close your eyes for a moment you may just get lost, floating away on a wing or feeling like you “skip like a stone on the water” as sung so tender on “Stone On The Water”.
One of my favorite tracks is the bizarre Latino flavor of “Once Around The Block”. It’s infectious. But the track I found myself listening to over and over was the delicate “Magic In The Air”. BDB spins tales of love and its good and bad.
BDB often gets off and on some tangent that becomes hard to follow. Take “Cause A Rockslide”. The song in the beginning is kind of nice and lovely, but it meanders into some sampling mess only to become another song that floats into “Pissing In The Wind”. But, oh, how he makes up for it on the Isley Brother-ish “Disillusion”.
Badly Drawn Boy has lots of ideas; they just seem like a sketch rather than a final masterpiece. I’m afraid to see what will happen once BDB gets it all together into one solid piece of work. If and when that happens we might just be calling Beck the ‘British Badly Drawn Boy’.
+ rae gun