November 7, 2002

Fish Food for Thought

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Damon Gough’s pet goldfish is sure to be delighted. His third album, Have You Fed the Fish? is not only christened after said fish but is a celebration of all those oft neglected pets/ rainbows/ lovers that we tend to forget about. Falling into no particular genre, Badly Drawn Boy’s third attempt charmingly ingratiates itself to the listener much like the mindless stupid gold fish that one can’t help keeping around. A solo singer/song-writer/composer Damon Gough is the only member of Badly Drawn Boy, the man also responsible for composing the brilliantly funny soundtrack to th e movie, About A Boy.

Similarly quirky, eccentric, and bizarrely jarring, his third album also relies on wry lyrics and a bitterly dry humour to carry the tunes. The music in itself is some kind of odd hybrid of cheesy ’80s sitcom tunes, electric guitars and vaudeville-ish twanging that can be grating at times, particularly if the listener is completely unprepared for what Gough has to offer. Described by various magazines as a pop artist with clever lyrics, Gough is anything but. In other words, anyone expecting some John Mayer type winter wondershite stuff, should stop reading now and start questioning one’s existence. His tunes might be funnily strange but his skills as a songwriter are impressively diverse. In the song, “You Were Right” which is somewhat ironically preceded by the softly threatening “I Was Wrong” Gough goes from “I remember doing nothing on the night Kurt Cobain died and the night John Lennon died/ I remember I stayed up to watch the news with everyone” to “Just had a dream the other night/ I was married to the queen/ and Madonna lived next door/ I think she took a shine to me