Badly Drawn Boy


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

How Did I Get Here , 7/10 (anthology)
The Hour of The Bewilderbeast (2000) , 6.5/10
About A Boy , 6/10
Have You Fed The Fish , 5/10
One Plus One Equals One (2004), 4/10
Born In The U.K. (2006) , 4/10
It's What I'm Thinking, Pt. 1: Photographing Snowflakes (2010), 4/10
Links:

Manchester native Damon "Badly Drawn Boy" Gough became an overnight sensation as a British version of Beck with the amateurish, lo-fi, poignant bedroom sound expounded in a series of EPs.
EP1 (Twisted Nerve, 1997) contains Riding With Gabriel Greenburg, Shake The Rollercoaster, No Point In Living, Sugarstealer.
EP2 (Twisted Nerve, 1998) contains I Love You All, The Treeclimber, Thinking Of You.
EP3 (1998) contains My Friend Cubilas, I Need A Sign, Interlude, Meet On The Horizon, Road Movie, Kerplunk By Candlelight.
It Came From The Ground (1999) contains It Came from The Ground, Walkman Demo 1, Outside Is A Light 1, Outside Is A Light 2, Walkman Demo 2.

Nursery Rhyme, on U.N.K.L.E.'s Psyence Fiction (1998), the single Whirlpool (1999) and the double single Once Around The Block (1999), a jazzy and breezy singalong backed with Soul Attitude and the soulful but sterile ballad Another Pearl, completed his early discography, one of the most intense of any debuting artist at the turn of the decade.

The best of the EPs and the singles make up the compilation How Did I Get Here (Toy, 1999).

Contrary to expectations, his sprawling 18-song debut album, The Hour of The Bewilderbeast (XL/Twisted Nerve, 2000), was instead a lush (accordion, theremin, xylophone, piano, harp, violins, oboe, trumpet), heavily-produced pop album, that owed more to Radiohead than to his generation's singer-songwriters. Gough's main asset is to be capable of being elegant, eloquent and emotional at the same time. Virtually a concept album about a romantic relationship, Gough can ape the sweet and sour balladry of mainstream pop (the languid The Shining with strings and trombone, the piano-based Magic In The Air), occasionally regressing to a bucolic-psychedelic Donovan (Fall In A River, This Song). Gough is rarely aggressive (the hypnotic Everybody's Stalking, the crescendo of Pissing In The Wind), as his feelings are mostly romantic and intimate. Rage is not part of his psychic landscape. The album rarely deals with social issues or even remotely with reality's ugly face. A touch of jazz (Once Around The Block), funk (Disillusion) and rhythm'n'blues (Say It Again) increases the sonic appeal. Banned from the album, the eccentric that rules his live shows surfaces only in Cause A Rockslide (a dreamy falsetto litany with insistent guitars) and Stone On The Water (for strings, acoustic guitar and irregular drum beat), possibly the two best songs. Two of the catchiest songs are recycled from previous EPs: Another Pearl and Once Around The Block.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Dario Ferraro)

Damon "Badly Drawn Boy" Gough e` nato a Manchester e si e` improvvisamente imposto come la versione inglese di Beck, con lo straziante lo-fi rock amatoriale esposto in una serie di Ep:
EP1 (Twisted Nerve, 1997) contiene Riding With Gabriel Greenburg, Shake The Rollercoaster, No Point In Living, Sugarstealer.
EP2 (Twisted Nerve, 1998) contiene I Love You All, The Treeclimber, Thinking Of You.
EP3 (1998) contiene My Friend Cubilas, I Need A Sign, Interlude, Meet On The Horizon, Road Movie, Kerplunk By Candlelight.
It Came From The Ground (1999) contiene It Came from The Ground, Walkman Demo 1, Outside Is A Light 1, Outside Is A Light 2, Walkman Demo 2.

Nursery Rhyme, su Psyence Fiction degli U.N.K.L.E. (1998), il singolo Whirlpool (1999) e il doppio singolo Once Around The Block (1999), con Soul Attitude e Another Pearl completano la sua veloce discografia, una delle piu` intense di qualsiasi debuttante dell'intera decade.
Il Meglio degli Ep e dei singoli e` pubblicato nella compilation How Did I Get Here (Toy, 1999).
Al contrario delle aspettative, il suo album di debutto The Hour of The Bewilderbeast (XL/Twisted Nerve), , composto disordinatamente da 18 canzoni e` piuttosto un fertile (Xilophoni, piano, arpa, violini, oboe, trombe) e ben prodotto album pop, che e` maggiormente debitore ai Radiohead piuttosto che alla sua generazione di cantautori. Il principale pregio di Gough e` la capacita` di essere elegante, eloquente e emotivo allo stesso tempo. In pratica, il suo e` un concept-album su una relazione romantica, dove Gough puo' imitare le ballads piu` dolci e melense di Paul mc Cartney (The Shining, Fall In A River, Magic In The Air), recedendo occasionalmente al George Harrison bucolico (Camping Next To Water, Pissing In The Wind). Gough e` raramente aggressivo (Everybody's Stalking), e i suoi sentimenti sono piu` romantici e intimi: la rabbia non e` una parte del suo repertorio. L'album raramente tocca i problemi sociali o anche remotamente la faccia triste della realta`. Un tocco di jazz (Stone On The Water, Bewilder), funk (Body Rap), soul (Disillusion) e rhythm and blues (Say It Again) aumenta il fascino del suo suono. Bandita dall'album, l'eccentricita` che regna nei suoi show dal vivo ritorna solo in Cause A Rockslide. L'unico problema e` che le migliori canzoni sono quelle riciclate dai precedenti Ep: Another Pearl e Once Around The Block.

The soundtrack to the film About A Boy (XL, 2002) is another casual triumph of Gough's melodic talent. Something To Talk About, Silent Sigh, River Sea Ocean, Donna And Blitzen scour the musicals, the cabarets, the beaches and the tv themes of the 20th century to codify the ultimate "fin de siecle" sensibility. (Translation by/ Tradotto da Dario Ferraro)

La colonna sonora del film About A Boy (XL, 2002) e' l'occasione per un altro trionfo casuale del talento melodico di Gough. Something To Talk About, Silent Sigh, River Sea Ocean, Donna And Blitzen percorrono i musicals, i cabarets, i temi da spiaggia e da tv del ventesimo secolo per codificare la definitiva sensibilita' di "fin de siecle"

Have You Fed The Fish (Twisted Nerve, 2002) is not only a commercial sell-out, but also a little boring, like when Elvis Costello sings easy-listening music. This is one of those albums that are superbly arranged, but no song is particularly relevant. The melodies are catchy but trivial (You Were Right), and the playing is a collage of quotations from the past. The concept is not even eccentric. It is simply state-of-the-art music, form before content. (Translation by/ Tradotto da Claudio Lancia)

Have You Fed The Fish (Twisted Nerve, 2002) è un successo commerciale, ma anche un tantino noioso, come quando Elvis Costello si dà all’easy-listening. E’ uno di quei dischi che sono superbamente arrangiati, ma nessuna canzone risulta essere particolarmente rilevante. Le melodie sono accattivanti ma banali (You Were Right), un collage di citazioni del passato. Il concetto non è nemmeno eccentrico. E’ semplicemente musica "state-of-the-art", la forma prima del contenuto.

One Plus One Equals One (XL, 2004) is, programmatically, Damon Gough's return to The Hour Of Bewilderbeast but, mainly, it is a streamlined version of that album's eccentricity. It is not a complete retreat from the glossy sell-out of Have You Fed The Fish, but a different route to achieve the same means: wider accessibility. There are precious few moments of meaningful music/lyrics (Holy Grail) and many embarrassing ones (even John Lennon would hesitate in front of the pathetic Life Turned Upside Down).

A retreat to an almost folk-ish sound was, instead, Born In The U.K. (Astralwerks, 2006), with a title reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen's era-defining Born In The USA album, except that Damon Gough prefers the piano to the guitar, the elegy to the anthem, and the self-portrait to the social fresco.

The intimate and fragile atmosphere of It's What I'm Thinking, Pt. 1: Photographing Snowflakes (2010) marks another step in the wrong direction.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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