Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Badly Drawn Boy

  • The Hour of Bewilderbeast [XL, 2000] A-
  • Have You Fed the Fish? [Artist Direct, 2002] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Hour of Bewilderbeast [XL, 2000]
Damon Gough sounds a lot sadder than he is. It's more like he muses a lot, is easily distracted. On the page, "You left your shoes in the tree with me/I'll wear them to your house tonight" looks hopelessly stupid; on record, it's quite wry. Nor is he undemonstrative--unlike low-affect codependent Elliott Smith, he fusses so much over his tunes, crooning and segueing and arranging and stuff, that you know he loves them to death. You can imagine him being just as nice to a real live girl one of these years. A-

Have You Fed the Fish? [Artist Direct, 2002]
Damon Gough was never the sad sack speedsters mistook him for, but who would have pegged him as a song-and-dance man--metaphorically, of course, which doesn't mean somebody shouldn't send him tap shoes? "How can I give you the answers you need/When all I possess is a melody?" he implores, and for once said melody is the answer. It's the rare guitar geek who acts like strings and horns are where he's always belonged rather than where he hopes he'll fit in. The rare bedroom genius who's cheered by success, too. A-