Category Archives: Badly Drawn Boy

Rocks In The Attic #236: Badly Drawn Boy – ‘About A Boy (O.S.T.)’ (2002)

RITA#236I love this. I was a fan of Badly Drawn Boy before Damon Gough’s debut, The Hour Of Bewilderbeast came out, and when that album was eventually released – to much acclaim – I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t follow through on the promises made on his early EPs and singles.

I disliked Bewilderbeast so much when it came out that I started to lose interest (even though I still bought all the 7” and 10” singles that were released off that album).  I think I bought the soundtrack to About A Boy, his sophomore effort, to give him one last chance. I’m glad I made that decision, as this is a modern classic.

I remember reading in the music press about this album before its release. A lot was said of the similarities of this to Simon & Garfunkel’s soundtrack to The Graduate – but I always put that down to the fact that it’s simply a film soundtrack put together by acoustic-based folk musicians, nothing more and nothing less.

This soundtrack avoids the usual pitfalls because it’s essentially one artist’s voice. Sometimes soundtracks built around one particular artists will jar slightly if their material is then complimented by orchestral score or similarly unrelated instrumental and incidental music. Here, Badly Drawn Boy’s songs fit perfectly with the shorter instrumental pieces that he also created for the film. It therefore doesn’t sound like you’re listening to a soundtrack (in fact, some of the more disjointed, bizarre moments of The Hour of Bewilderbeast make that first album sound more like what you would expect from a film soundtrack).

I’m not sure why, but this was the last Badly Drawn Boy album that I bought. Even though I think it’s firmly the stronger of his first two albums, I then didn’t bother to check out album number three, or beyond. Perhaps I didn’t want to be disappointed as this promised so much.

Hit: Something To Talk About

Hidden Gem: A Peak You Reach

Rocks In The Attic #89: Unkle – ‘Psyence Fiction’ (1998)

Rocks In The Attic #89: Unkle - ‘Psyence Fiction’ (1998)I bought this very simply because Badly Drawn Boy features on one of the songs, and at the time, just before his debut album was released, I was doing my best to collect everything relating to him. The album then grew on me, as I started to realise that on a very rich album, the badly Drawn Boy song on there isn’t one of the highlights.

I don’t think I knew who DJ Shadow was when I first bought this album, but I’m familiar with Endtroducing, and I see he is listed here as the producer. It’s a very zeitgeist album when you step back and take a look at it – Richard Ashcroft, Badly Drawn Boy, Mike D, Thom Yorke, DJ Shadow.

Hit: UNKLE Main Title Theme

Hidden Gem: Rabbit In Your Headlights

Rocks In The Attic #73: Badly Drawn Boy – ‘The Hour Of Bewilerbeast’ (2000)

Rocks In The Attic #73: Badly Drawn Boy - ‘The Hour Of Bewilerbeast’ (2000)I usually remove stickers from the cover of records. Most of the time it’s easy – especially if it’s a brand-new record – but sometimes it can cause more damage than keeping it on there. I’ve brought many records home from second-hand vinyl shops, and tried to remove a sticker that’s probably been on the cover for 15 or 20 years, only to pull off a huge chunk of the cover in the process.

There is a sticker on the front cover of my vinyl copy of this album that I’ve left on there. It is a HMV sticker, and alongside the price (£9.99) and the barcode, is my name in block capitals (MR J ANDREWS), the phone number of my parents’ house, and the date of sale (19/07/00).

This was given to me as a birthday gift by the lead singer in the band I was playing in at the time, and he had to order it into HMV Oldham, as they didn’t usually stock vinyl, hence the sticker.

I have to say I was pretty let down by this album. There was a lot of buzz around Badly Drawn Boy at the time, and I already had one of his early EPs – EP3, I think. This album was set to be an instant masterpiece, but it’s very disjointed. Later, Damon Gough said that he panicked when he got into the studio, and recorded a load of bits and pieces he didn’t plan. It sounds like it. I’d take those first three EPs – plus the It Came From The Ground single – over this album any day.

Hit: Once Around The Block

Hidden Gem: Disillusion

Rocks In The Attic #24: Doves – ‘Lost Souls’ (2000)

Rocks In The Attic #24: Doves - ‘Lost Souls’ (2000)Another band I liked really early on – I have all their early singles on vinyl – before abandoning them to the Oasis fans. I’d been following their rise in Manchester, mainly on the coat-tails of Badly Drawn Boy, who they used to be a backing band for; and they got played relatively early by Jo Whiley on Radio 1. I can remember working at my desk in my room at University, when she played Sea Song for the first time on radio. I nearly hit the roof – I had bought the song on vinyl (this was way before the album came out) and I had loved it from the first time I heard it.

I then had the misfortune of missing them play a small bar in my hometown, Oldham, because I was playing with my own band a few streets away on the same night. I did get to catch them that summer at Glastonbury on the Second Stage – I think they were the first band I ever saw at the festival – on the ridiculously early Friday morning slot. This set was also the first of many missed meetings at Glastonbury, as my University housemate Kaj, who I was looking out to meet up with (in the days just before mobile phones) saw me watching them, but wasn’t sure enough that it was me to come over and tap me on the shoulder. We caught up the following day if I remember correctly.

The next time I saw Doves was a few years later. They were headlining the same stage on the Sunday night, touring their second album, and I walked through the field and caught them for 5 minutes, enough to see them dedicate a song to Marc-Vivien Foé – the Manchester City and Cameroon international who had recently died on the pitch (the band are big Man City fans); but by that point they had got a bit more famous and a lot of Oasis fans (ie. non-musos who only dabble in music) had started liking them as a faux-Oasis substitute band.

I did see Jimi from Doves once in Manchester, as pissed off as I was that we both couldn’t get into a bar that was holding a night celebrating Bill Hicks on the 10th anniversary of his death. I’ve never seen a rock star so mad.

But I have fond memories of this, a great album.

Hit: Here It Comes

Hidden Gem: Sea Song