Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour Of Bewilderbeast

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2004-01-05

Derided as a joker, dismissed as an indie elitist--few believed the hype that frothed from critical mouths about Damon Gough, a bleary-eyed, bestubbled Mancunian with an acoustic guitar and a shambolic stage manner. But The Hour Of The Bewilderbeast--the debut album by Gough's alter-ego, Badly Drawn Boy--is utterly superb, an 18-track collection of futurist folk as intimate and well crafted as Nick Drake's Bryter Later. Gough leads a backing band comprising Mancunian post-folk chums Alfie, and together they unveil a breed of rock entirely without bombast--the intimate folds of "Stone On The Water" entrancing, rather than bludgeoning. And it's funny, too. "I'm dying..." Gough announces on "Everyone's Stalking". And then, bourne up on a swell of parping brass, he finishes the sentence with relish: "To put a little sunshine in your life!" Droll, yet touching, seldom immediate, but forever sublime. The Hour Of The Bewilderbeast weaves quiet, but affecting, spells. -- Louis Pattison

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