To celebrate the 15th anniversary of his seminal, magical, Mercury-prize winning debut, Badly Drawn Boy (aka Damon Gough) releases a new deluxe version of the album, including bonus unheard tracks (on the double CD version) and new artwork.
Released in May 2000 to widespread acclaim, ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’ beat other shortlisted nominees including Coldplay, Doves, Leftfield and Richard Ashcroft to that year’s Mercury Music Prize. Like all great debuts, it captured the zeitgeist of the moment, managing that rare feat of sounding both completely of its time, and utterly timeless. The album went platinum and Damon was then asked to write the soundtrack the film of Nick Hornby’s book ‘About A Boy’, which became a huge hit. He went on to release eight studio albums over 12 years, before taking a break over the last couple of years and now he’s back with a fresh focus.
It’s an album that shouldn’t really work on paper, a bewildering assortment of leftfield folk ditties, poetic shanties, experimental passages and nocturnal piano ballads, some recorded in bedrooms, some in studios, with a myriad of different oddball production techniques, and numerous personnel playing most instruments known to man, and several not. However, underpinned by the genius songwriting of Damon Gough and his intuitive ear for melody, it worked beautifully, and charmed a generation of music critics and music lovers. Damon arrived fully formed yet badly drawn, an overnight success which had taken years, simultaneously a little shambolic and in possession of grand vision, somehow both cocksure and yet self-doubting, all of which only endured him to a public growing tired of the over-polished sheen of late 90s.
Andy Votel has updated his classic artwork, loosely based on Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’, for the re-release. “I’m very fond of the cover,” says Damon. “It sums up the time as much as the music does. The gatefold vinyl will have the original artwork and when you open it up there’s a new version which reflects everything that’s happened in the last 15 years.”