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REVIEWS - SOUNDS

Title:
The Hour of Bewilderbeest
Artist(s):
Badly Drawn Boy
El-Camel's Ratings:

Label:
Twisted Nerve
---BUY THIS ALBUM---
Reviewer:
owen adams

** CONTRIBUTE A REVIEW **

At last, the debut album by Manchester's wonderboy composer-arranger guitarist and singer extraordinaire Damon Gough is here. After bearing witness to the whirlpool jazz of Once Around The Block and the exquisite Another Pearl, what fine and luxurious treasure will be unfurled before us?

The first thing that becomes apparent, is his yearning to picnic by a babbling brook, to take in some mountain air, to sleep under the stars and be at one with his badly drawn self.

Bewilderbeest opens with a mournful brass refrain that'd sound at home on a Hovis ad or on Last of the Summer Wine. Hush! Lush strings unfold and a campfire acoustic guitar sound, and that glorious, unadulterated voice. This is The Shining. Track 2, Everybody's Stalking rocks out however, with guitars that sound like pianos, and drums like the pitter-patter of summery rain. It's the sound of festivals of yore, of smoky fires and grooving in the afternoon sun.

Bewilderbeest signifies it's time to reach out to that elusive astral plane, as things start to get very trippy, in a Mellow Yellow Donovan kinda way. A hurdy-gurdy helter-skelter gives way to the psychedelic space romp of Fall In A River, followed by the gentle comedown of Camping Next To Water. Ahh, the velvety loveliness of it all.

Like Simon & Garfunkel with the schmalz sucked out, Nirvana minus the angst and vintage Byrds, Bewilderbeest meanders between golden meadows and a craggy landscape, as lulling gentle acoustic sounds melt into dynamic technicolour electric riffs. The mood stays mostly chilled and soothing; we're shielded from any gritty reality bites.

Taste that pine fresh forest air, revel in the blood red sunset as pink flamingoes dance in the azure blue saltlakes until... A quirky queasy scuzzed-up jazz greets us on Body Rap, about halfway through this monumental 18-song odyssey. Mercilessly plunging into the most acidic of 60s psychedelia with This Song, where harmonies reverberate around a fuzzy backwards guitar, Badly Drawn Boy snuggles down again into that melodic mellow vibe, which never fails to be enchanting.

Towards the end there's a little swoonsome and uplifting country on the theme of Pissing In The Wind, the falsetto-drenched Cause A Rockslide, the weird 80s-style cod-funk of Disillusion, right through to the soaring folk and birdsong outro Epitaph. This, undeniably, is a complete album, with scarcely a dark glimmer within its untainted innocent open book.

The Hour of Bewilderbeest has no meaning and no pattern. It has no real relevance, even, in today's climate of supersonic growth and change. But how often do you come across such a raft of tremulously pure and heartachingly beautiful songs


Oilzine Members Reviews
The Hour of Bewilderbeest
** CONTRIBUTE A REVIEW **

UserID:
kenny
Ratings:
Review:
I luv it
Posted:
08/06/01 14:32:18
   


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