Badly Sung Songs
In the opening of One Plus One is One, the newest album from Badly Drawn Boy, the sounds of setting up in the studio and an acoustic guitar solo in the beginning makes for an interesting set up. Unfortunately, as the sole musician of the act, Damon Gough is sadly lacking in the vocal area. It sounds as if he’s trying his hand at the Tom Waits/Lou Reed/Leonard Cohen/Johnny Cash untrained vocalist bag, but it just doesn’t sway that way for him.This is a shame, because the music is beautiful. It is a combination of folk and Indie. It’s mellow, melodic, and harmonious. There are a plethora of instruments, from flutes to horns to organs to xylophones to violins. The children-singing-in-unison card is played on several tracks, but it adds to the music rather than takes away from it; it’s like a symphony of voices.
Gough writes clear, sedate pieces with a simple, transcendent feel, and uncanny Beatles and Belle and Sebastian similarities. But as an act that is not a pioneer of its genre, every aspect of Badly Drawn Boy is important, including his vocals. If Gough wanted to go the crackly, under-the-tone route, he should have accentuated it, sounding more like he drinks whiskey and smokes cowboy-killers until 3 am every night. Instead, he sounds quiet and mousy.
In essence, One Plus One is One is a relaxing, beautiful album, minus its vocals. It is worth the money, even if it is more of a listen once, hum for the rest of your life, album.