Badly Drawn Boy
The Hour Of Bewilderbeast



by robin EMERITUS
October 20th, 2008 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Your beauty will last for awhile.

Gough enjoys rambling no end. The sum of eighteen tracks on The Hour Of Bewilderbeast would be daunting, were it not for an obvious self-consciousness that plagues his mind. For the full stretch, the writing changes in ways to create an album that is better with all its parts intact. This way, lowly and quickly produced tracks become bare bones without being actually useless. To have a reason for existence, “This Song” is the candid slow piece, cornered by all the contrasts possible; the playful instrumental in “Bewilderbeast” on one side, or otherwise the high-altitude “Once Around the Block” that needs immediate calming. Opposites attract.

Allowing these small necessities to gather does Gough his own favour with a complimentary job: defining the ultimation of brilliant song writing. “Once Around The Block” is, no matter what, the central point of Gough’s career. It is intricate for any chosen reason – the effect peddles that twist and turn melodramatically, the layering of encompassing riffs that move identically to Gough’s harmonies, or just its playfully engaging lyricism (how You quiver like a candle on fire/I’m putting you out/Maybe tonight we could be the last shot/That I’m fascinated by your love looks on paper is disregarded with Gough’s inside out vocals). It sounds as if it was originally a few different songs, but not in a segmented progressive pattern; this is compacted, packaged music that neither forgets nor remembers itself.

Such could be said for Gough’s first composition in general. There’s nothing left actually unfinished by the time it fades away – the chimes to close “Once Around The Block” could be the most bombastic showcase of this, but then the unexpected jolly whistle-along that jumps up on the electric guitars of “Cause A Rockslide” are almost as hypnotic. Then, acoustic strumming is born from enclosed trumpeting on “The Shining” and suddenly this quality is played in reverse. However the tracks are played, however – forward, backwards, whatever – they stand-alone. Even the instrumentals can fundamentally do this; the accordion/guitar replicas “Bewilder/Bewilderbeast” bouncy and charming enough to earn a less scathing title than ‘interlude’. All these little knacks give The Hour of Bewilderbeast real uncanny plot. It all sounds so well planned; it might just be a sudden higher pitch hum or a cluster of atypical Yeah yeah yeahs, but it’s impossible to miss.

Fifty-six minutes in, “Epitaph” will detract the album from its conventional sound for a lo-fi closer. It is small in nature, but there’s something in its optimistic backdrop that permits it to be a final emptying of thoughts. Even at the end of this brisk four-minute farewell, the rules still apply. Every little trait remaining on Damon Gough’s debut is a saccharine tint to accompany whatever its original substance was. Instead of writing a tongue-in-cheek one off, Gough’s debut has been written as something with a little bit of contemplation. Even if you don’t understand how this could make any difference to The Hour of Bewilderbeast – a one hour ‘sing along’ – break it down to bits and think again. Or: delve in immediately.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 20th 2008


so yeah, more people should hear this /

October 20th 2008


Fantastic job.

October 20th 2008


Really good review babe, might check this out.

October 21st 2008


well you should, yes.

September 26th 2010


you're a good writer man.

Damon Gough is the type of musician I myself enjoy but can't defend in an argument. He kinda has these ultra-indie-rock tendencies. Whatever though, catchy album.

June 17th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

Hey, more people should love this

Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

best album

Digging: Violents and Monica Martin - Awake and Pretty Much Sober

June 22nd 2017


Album Rating: 3.0

Nice album. Similar to The Velvet Undergrounds S/T

Digging: Big Star - 3rd

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