Monday, August 16, 2010

Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour Of Bewilderbeast


I tried hard to like Badly Drawn Boy, given every critic in the world (it seemed) has sung his praises, but really I can't.

That's because he just puts too much into each song.  I mean, the melodies are lovely, but I really have no idea if he can sing, because all his vocals are muffled and/or obscured by the layers and layers and layers and... layers of other stuff that's going on.

It's another CD that got me annoyed enough to yell at it, and abandon listening about three songs from the end.  So I'm sorry if one of those is a masterpiece, but even then it wouldn't be enough to keep it hanging around.



I really don't know what to make of Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy.  The Hour Of Bewilderbeast was talked about a lot when it came out and I'm really not one for taking much notice of hype, particularly when it's led by the British music press who continually display a heavy bias towards their own.

It wasn't until this album turned up in a discount bin that I actually got it and gave it a listen.  And then it went straight into the collection where it's stayed ever since.  It kind of reminds me of over-earnest young solo musicians playing at a local open-mic night to three friends and bar staff.  The reality is if I wanted to listen to something like this, I'd go to Nick Drake or M Ward or, in fact, just about anyone else.


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  1. Yes, I'd tend to agree. There was a time when this album was being rammed down our throats from every quarter but I never really liked it and so rather dismissed BDB - the problem that can happen with too much hype, I just turn off.

    Also, you raise a good point about over-production. A recent fav of mine is 'Hands' by Little Boots, which again suffers from this malady even thought the songs are really good and her acoustic versions are brilliant. I'm also listening to the late Lesley Duncan's 'Sing Children Sing' from 1971 which is quite the reverse - minimal backing showing off some beautiful songwriting. That's how it should be done. A case of too clever by half these days.

  2. MO, I'm exactly the same (as I think I've pointed out numerous times before). To me, too much hype comes across as over-compensation for lack of something else and I'm just not willing to find out what.

    I've been listening to M.Ward a fair bit lately and like your description of Lesley Duncan's recordings, I find the production geared to highlighting the songwriting not studio trickery. You're absolutely right - it is how it should be done.