Hour of Bewilderbeast

The Hour of Bewilderbeast

4.8 5
by Badly Drawn Boy

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If you needed any more proof that the English are, well, different, just consider the fact that the land's tastemakers just handed the annual Mercury Prize -- think a combination of the Grammy and a rock Nobel -- to this oddly compelling bit of low-fi navel-gazing. Badly Drawn Boy, the nom de disque of a skittish lad named Damon Gough, manages to forge a downbeat yet


If you needed any more proof that the English are, well, different, just consider the fact that the land's tastemakers just handed the annual Mercury Prize -- think a combination of the Grammy and a rock Nobel -- to this oddly compelling bit of low-fi navel-gazing. Badly Drawn Boy, the nom de disque of a skittish lad named Damon Gough, manages to forge a downbeat yet friendly fusion of Guided by Voices' Bob Pollard and Burt Bacharach, dogged in both its soul-baring and its pop savvy. For the most part, The Hour of Bewilderbeast is a quiet pleasure, with songs such as "The Shining" and "Bewilderbeast" languidly coasting on streams of piano, strings, and oboe. Although largely soothing, it's not all easy listening, as borne out by the forlorn strains of "Pissing in the Wind," on which Gough accompanies himself on little more than acoustic guitar, and "Magic in the Air," which creates the same ambience with solo piano. Gough is less successful when he takes a stab at rocking out, after a fashion, on songs such as "Everybody's Stalking," which manages to pump up the volume without noticeably cranking up the energy level. But when he locks the door and shuts off the electricity, Gough elevates himself to the top ranks of Brit eccentrics -- so roll over Robyn Hitchcock and tell yer pal Momus the news.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
What has the field of lo-fi slacker pop come to when faced by an LP as ambitious and entertaining as Badly Drawn Boy's The Hour of Bewilderbeast? Despite all attempts to sabotage his songwriting and production with innumerable experimental tidbits, songs within a song, and (seemingly) tossed-off arrangements, Damon Gough has to face the fact that he wrote and produced over a dozen excellent songs of baroque folk-pop for his album debut, and the many gems can't help but shine through all the self-indulgence. The sprightly orchestration for cello and trumpet (Gough's own) that begin the album are eventually taken over by the sparse guitar pickings and wistful folky sunshine of "The Shining," which veers into the skewed slide guitar and ominous tone of "Everybody's Stalking." Gough rarely pauses for breath (even when he's doing a ballad) or follows any traditional sense of album flow, but after a listen or two, The Hour of Bewilderbeast is revealed as a shambling masterpiece of a pop album. Most of these songs are Gough's entirely (he plays as many as eight instruments), with occasional help from friends like Twisted Nerve co-labelhead Andy Votel and assorted drummers for accompaniment. His songwriting is great, but Gough's twisted sense of humor helps the album shine as well, as on "Fall in a River," where the down-a-lazy-river feel carries through to the point where not just Gough but the entire production is submerged with a splash and attendant warping of the sound. The Hour of Bewilderbeast surely isn't a traditional pop album, but a continually beguiling trip through lo-fi postmodern folk that draws as much from Harry Nilsson as Beck.
Rolling Stone - Pat Blashill
...sweet, gently burning songs.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
The Hour of Bewilderbeast feels as confident as a love letter or e-mail yet is still universal ­ an intimate hour that¹s far from bewildering.

Product Details

Release Date:
Xl Recordings


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Badly Drawn Boy   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar
Gary Wilkinson   Keyboards,Siren
Derrick Santini   Hand Clapping
Jez Williams   Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar
Spencer Birtwhistle   Drums
Andy Votel   Piano,Keyboards
Damon Gough   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Sean Kelly   Drums
Andy Williams   Drums
Joe Robinson   Loops

Technical Credits

Ken Nelson   Producer
Gary Wilkinson   Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Badly Drawn Boy   String Arrangements
Andy Votel   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Artwork,drum programming,String Samples
Damon Gough   Programming
Paul Anthony Taylor   String Arrangements
Joe Robinson   Sound Effects,Producer,Engineer,drum programming

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The Hour of Bewilderbeast 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
badly drawn boy is one of the best new artists to emerge in the last 2 years. Tthis album represents everything an album should be. A decent length and enough musical diversity to make john lennon jealous. Definalty the stand out track is once around the block. Other ones at least in my opinon are disillusion and another pearl. With an album like this we can only expect good things to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD was given to me as part of a collection, so I wasn't sure what to expect. All I could think as I began listening to it was that it was beautiful, an automatic favorite. The music is very calming, full and melodious; it is also different from my usual style (think Placebo). I will enthusiastically recommend this CD to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never been so moved by music. For the past 5 years i have listened to BADLY DRAWN BOY and not been able to find anything to top him. I have bought this c-d a total of five times because i like to give them away, and share this beautifull masterpeice. His transitions are great, his voice is great, and i believe that anyone that can love can find a special place in there hearts for this artist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A ground-breaking album that marks the turning point of Badly Drawn Boy to the music industry. The album has entitled him to the prestigious Mercury Prize Award back in 2000. With excellent tracks as the likes of Magic In The Air, Once Around The Block which features the funny-bizarre teenage video to the haunted listening Cause A Rockslide to the catchy Disillusion, I personally made this album top of the list of my favourite albums of all time besides The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. Badly Drawn Boys episteme to make experimental songs is somewhat conjuring trick with his magical wit to play with musical notes on his piano as the major instrument and this is to explain why this album is almost piano-driven. Regrettably, his comeback to the mainstream with the second album has not reached an extend to what I expected it to be on par with this album. Glad to say that About A Boy soundtrack which fully featured him as the sole performer of the album back in 2002 has been hailed as another fantabulous turnout by him. Both The Hour of Bewilderbeast and About The Boy has been acclaimed by critics to be the finest hour of this Prince of Alternative Music. And not enough by those album, his latest Born In The UK is not dissatisfactory too, luckily. My personal favourite tracks: Magic In The Air, Once Around The Block, Cause A Rockslide, Disillusion
Anonymous More than 1 year ago