The Hour Of Bewilderbeast

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Garnering Britain's coveted Mercury Prize in 2000, THE HOUR OF BEWILDERBEAST announced the arrival of Badly Drawn Boy (AKA Damon Gough), the most gleefully eccentric singer/songwriter the UK had seen in decades. With his ever-present multi-colored knit cap, loopy stage presence, and an arsenal of beautifully ramshackle songs, Gough charmed listeners with BEWILDERBEAST's surprisingly eclectic array of songs.

Beginning with the utterly gorgeous, string-laden "The Shining," the album takes a sharp turn into lo-fi rock with "Everybody's Stalking," eventually moving on to the melancholy folk of "Stone on the Water," the shimmering jazz-pop of "Once Around the Block," and the delirious funk of "Disillusion." Although Gough occasionally borders on being too quirky for his own good, he always sets up enough loose boundaries to keep the music from wandering too far off the mark. An album of striking energy and originality, BEWILDERBEAST cements Badly Drawn Boy's reputation as an intriguing performer.

...A slippery and surprising little record - an oblique song cycle tracing a relationship from balmy beginning to corrosive intimate hour that's far from bewildering. - Rating: A- - Entertainment Weekly