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One Plus One Is One
     

One Plus One Is One

5.0 1
by Badly Drawn Boy
 

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Damon Gough -- better known as Badly Drawn Boy -- rose to prominence on the strength of nearly naked home recordings that reconciled the attitude of a lo-fi purist and the romantic bent of a pure popster. While he has moved away from that approach in recent days, One Plus One Is One finds him returning to his roots, replacing recording studio slickness with the

Overview

Damon Gough -- better known as Badly Drawn Boy -- rose to prominence on the strength of nearly naked home recordings that reconciled the attitude of a lo-fi purist and the romantic bent of a pure popster. While he has moved away from that approach in recent days, One Plus One Is One finds him returning to his roots, replacing recording studio slickness with the sort of hushed guilelessness that can only be captured in a small, darkened room. That's evident in the warm, fuzzy guitar and gently blown flute that buoy "Summertime Is Wintertime" and in the shuffling rhythms of the playful "Four Leaf Clover." It's also apparent in Gough's lyrical approach -- like the beseeching title track, on which he woozily claims to be "back to being who I was before" and all but begs to be left alone by the hellhounds on his trail. As ever, he teeter-totters between joy and despair, flirting with the latter on the melancholy "This Is That New Song" and plunging full-force into the former with the jaunty "Holy Grail" (which gets an extra dose of affirmation from the children's choir that joins in on the chorus). One Plus One Is One may not say much about Gough's math skills, but it speaks volumes on the subject of his ability to make something out of -- almost -- nothing.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
After the concise About a Boy soundtrack and the overdone Have You Fed the Fish?, Damon Gough (aka Badly Drawn Boy) still seems to be searching for balance on his fourth album, One Plus One Is One. Even the album's name contains conflicting wishes for simplicity and multiplicity, along with suggesting a relationship's theory of mathematics. Most of the songs here revolve around love's simplicities and complexities in settings that range from unadorned to elaborate. One Plus One Is One starts out simple and strong, with the title track, "Easy Love," and the Jethro Tull-esque (but in a good way) "Summertime in Wintertime" cataloging some of the additions and subtractions in Gough's life while sounding like late summer in the English countryside. Songs like these and the lovely "This Is That New Song" may get Badly Drawn Boy fans' hopes up that this is the album they've been waiting for since The Hour of Bewilderbeast. One Plus One Is One does have some of the seemingly effortless grace of Gough's will o' the wisp tour de force, but unlike that album, this set of songs feels more grounded and, like most of his work after About a Boy, the heavy lifting in his music is more apparent. As the album unfolds, it gets increasingly baroque, meandering, and logy; not only are there overly lavish Have You Fed the Fish? flashbacks like "Take the Glory" and "Holy Grail," songs that are otherwise successfully simple, such as "Logic of a Friend," are tricked out with unnecessarily busy arrangements. Certainly, choices like the kids choir on "Year of the Rat" -- not to mention lyrics like "If we hold on, we can find some new energy" -- are easy targets, but in this case, Gough manages to pull off the kind of vulnerable, wide-eyed optimism that usually gets short shrift in the too-cool-for-school indie world. Still, it's arguable whether or not these more grandiose songs have more impact than beautifully succinct ones like "Fewer Words" and "Four Leaf Clover." The U.S. version of One Plus One Is One further gilds the lily with two bonus tracks, the well-intended but undernourished "Don't Ask Me I'm Only the President" and the musically hyperactive "Plan B," both of which pad the album out to over an hour. Gough's music seems to be undergoing the usual growing pains of moving beyond a landmark work, and a landmark debut in particular; it's possible that he's moving into the craftsman phase of his career, refining the territory he's already staked out instead of claiming more. There are times when One Plus One Is One is simply too much, and the fresh spin that Gough brought to the British singer/songwriter tradition in his earlier work is missed, but he's still a fine addition to it.
Rolling Stone - Christian Hoard
1/2 One Plus One Is One comes on like a welcome memory, suddenly making you smile to yourself after a handful of listens.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/21/2004
Label:
Xl Recordings Uk
UPC:
0634904017927
catalogNumber:
0401792

Tracks

  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. Take the Glory
  14. Holy Grail
  15. Don't Ask Me I'm Only the President
  16. Plan B

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Badly Drawn Boy   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Piano,Glockenspiel,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Clavinet,fender rhodes,Hammond B3
Bob Marsh   Trumpet
James Bradshaw   Vocals
Alex Thomas   Percussion,Drums,Timpani
Andy Votel   Percussion,Chimes,Cymbals,Sampling,cowbell,Tubular Bells
Damon Gough   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Piano,Celeste,Glockenspiel,Electric Guitar,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Clavinet,Mellotron,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Colin McLeod   Accordion
Roger Wickham   Flute
Chris Worsey   Cello,Electric Cello
Alexandre Burton   Vocals
Charlotte Brown   Vocals
Charles Ashby   Percussion
Cathryn Barnett   Vocals
Oliver Heath   Violin
Adam Hough   Vocals
Norman McLeod   Slide Guitar
Rosie Plummer   Vocals
Charlie Seisay   Vocals
Janine Shaw   Vocals
Helen Smalley   Vocals
Alex "Earl Shilton" Thomas   Cymbals,Drums,Gong,Bells,Timpani
Jilly Whittaker   Vocals
Sean McCann   Bass

Technical Credits

Andy Votel   Producer,Artwork,Audio Production
Damon Gough   Composer,Producer
Colin McLeod   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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One Plus One Is One 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Damon Gough, AKA Badly Drawn Boy, has a very unique style of music and voice for that matter, which makes people enjoy listening to his peace filled songs.