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Have You Fed the Fish
Badly Drawn Boy
Have You Fed the Fish
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

HAVE YOU FED THE FISH? opens with the most subtle of skits before launching into the title track, a 70s-style power ballad out of the Stephen Bishop songbook. The title track fades into crunchy, imploring angry indie rock ...  more »

      
   
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CD Details

All Artists: Badly Drawn Boy
Title: Have You Fed the Fish
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Xl Recordings
Release Date: 11/9/2004
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Europe, British Isles, Singer-Songwriters, Adult Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 634904018924

Synopsis

Album Description
HAVE YOU FED THE FISH? opens with the most subtle of skits before launching into the title track, a 70s-style power ballad out of the Stephen Bishop songbook. The title track fades into crunchy, imploring angry indie rock in the Modest Mouse tradition ("40 Days, 40 Fights") which shifts into a swirling disco-era dance number ("All Possibilities") then disintegrates into an earnest epic, lyrically Dylan-esque love song suite ("I Was Wrong/You Were Right"). Incorporating something like seven verses, a whistled interlude, a synth solo and a couple kitchen sinks. And that's Damon Gough (aka. Badly Drawn Boy) in a nutshell; he could be called Beck without the gimmicks, bells and whistles, but more aptly should be referred to as his ultimate own man. HAVE YOU FED THE FISH?, the prolific BDB's second record of 2002, displays the linguistic mastery of a Swiftian wordsmith, someone who loves to toy with the language while understanding the value of restraint in a well-turned phrase, a wit which can exhibit the sharpest irony but also possesses the guts to write a song as breathtakingly sincere as the aforementioned "You Were Wrong/I Was Right," a song as beautiful and as achingingly clumsy as is the truest of love. "Unlike most of his contemporaries, singer-songwriter Gough is willing to explore all sorts of styles while allowing himself to be as playful or serious as he wants"--Alternative Press.

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CD Reviews

Have you fed them?
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 01/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After his brilliant debut, "Hour of Bewilderbeast," Badly Drawn Boy (real name: Damon Gough) had a lot to live up to in his second (non-soundtrack) album. And he comes close to delivering in "Have You Fed the Fish?", a sparkling folky-pop album that displays his musical depth and complexity.

It opens with an announcer (like on a plane) informing us that outside the window is a cloud that looks just like Badly Drawn Boy. It's a pretentious moment that isn't too annoying -- especially when it dissolves into sparkling, layered pop. Gough relies on piano pop in songs like "40 Days 40 Fights," and the passionate ballad "How." It's his best area; he can really wring feeling from those keys.

But he also dips into the more acoustic sound, with the danceable "Born Again" and the low-key "I Was Wrong." And "Tickets To What You Need" is more acoustic than any other song -- stripped down, with Gough's vocals in the forefront, he sounds like he's standing on a table and joyously singing to the crowds. After a few more chillingly panoramic pop melodies and piano-led laments, he bows out in the soaring fuzz-guitar "Bedside Story."

It's all too easy to alienate someone you love, perhaps forever. Gough seems to be speaking through his songs to someone else, saying "I Was Wrong," "You Were Right" (two songs from the middle of this album). He retains the experimental edge, giving extra layers and sonic flourishes to what could have been an ordinary indie-folk-pop album.

If there's any flaw in "Have You Fed The Fish?", it's that it seems sometimes that Gough is trying a little too hard. Relax, mate. His acoustic guitar and exquisite piano playing are the middle of the album's sound, but he backs it up with horns, strings, sometimes thunderous percussion, and cymbals. Not to mention the smooth synthy sweeps in songs like "Centre Peace."

Gough's mellow voice is a bit like an instrument in itself -- he seems kind of timid about being in the forefront musically. He only breaks out in "Tickets To What You Need," sounding playful and charming. There are some lyrical stumbles ("And woman, I'll make you a girl"?), but most of the time he manages to wrap strangely sensitive words around the songs. "And you/were right to bide your time and not buy into my misery/Well the good things are never free..."

Gough doesn't reach the heights of his debut album, but taken alone "Have You Fed The Fish" is a beautiful little pop classic overshadowed by the bigger classic, "Bewilderbeast.""