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One Plus One Is One - Badly Drawn Boy

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Genre: Rock - Pop Rock / Artist: Badly Drawn Boy / Audio CD released 2004-06-21 at Twisted Nerve

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      07.01.2011 23:28
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      A partial return to form for Damon Gough

      'Back to the man I was before' is the first lyric that really resonates listening to the new album from Badly Drawn Boy. "Hands up, I admit it," you can imagine him saying, "Have You Fed the Fish? wasn't that great." Which, of course, is a whole different topic but, in retrospect, perhaps Damon Gough will look back at 2002 as the year when he produced enough material for one really good album but spread it over two (Have You Fed the Fish? and the About a Boy soundtrack). So, with this lyric, is Gough harking back to 2000's The Hour of the Bewilderbeast? Perhaps. Of course, it makes a good journalistic opening if I can convince you it does.

      In style this album seems far sparser than any of his previous material, the opening few tracks dominated solely by piano and vocals. Other instrumentation takes much more of a back seat and this is A Good Thing. One of the reasons why HYFTF? did not reach the heights of its 2000 predecessor was because it was so much busier. Any melodies contained within were dominated by overblown and unnecessary orchestration.

      One Plus One is One does not have this issue. The songs start simply and while more elements are added as the album goes by - a flute on 'Another Devil Dies', timpani on 'Year of the Rat' - the musicianship never detracts from the music itself. In fact, these tracks are two of those that particularly stand out. 'Year of the Rat' especially must have been recognised as a single in the making.

      All in all has the behatted one gone back to the way he was before? No, not really. The man has grown up. He's got a kid and a wife and a reputation to support. As such, replicating The Hour of the Bewilderbeast was never likely and would have been less than advisable. But Gough has managed to produce a fun grown-up album. It's got just the right amount of jingly-jangly guitars and plinky-plonk pianos, but sounds like it's produced by an artist who has developed and, more importantly, knows what he's trying to achieve.

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 One Plus One Is One
      2 Easy Love
      3 Summertime in Wintertime
      4 This is That New Song
      5 Another Devil Dies
      6 The Blossoms
      7 Year of the Rat
      8 Four Leaf Clover
      9 Fewer Words
      10 Logic of a Friend
      11 Stockport
      12 Life Turned Upside Down
      13 Takes The Glory
      14 Holy Grail

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