Badly Drawn Boy Born In The UK Review

Released 2006.  

BBC Review

Clearly, Badly Drawn Boy is a man ruled by his heart...

Richard Banks 2006

In the summer of 2005, Damon Gough had a bit of a crisis. Despite having penned a score of new songs for his fifth LP with Stephen Street, a producer many musicians would give their left arm to work with, his heart just wasn’t in it. So the man in the hat ripped it all up and started again.

Clearly, Badly Drawn Boy is a man ruled by his heart, and he’ll follow wherever it may lead. Eventually, it led him back home, to the things that he loves - his wife, his kids, and his roots. Hence the focus of Born In The U.K. and its Springsteen-esque title track, on which BDB pays homage to the best of Blighty (“Life On Mars”, the Sex Pistols, Margaret Thatcher). But the influence of The Boss runs deeper here than just the titular pun. ‘If we still don't have a plan,’ Gough sings on album closer “One Last Dance”, ‘we’ll just listen to “Thunder Road”’.

Clearly, the Boy’s been listening hard. Springsteen’s confident songsmithery resonates throughout, making this Gough’s most contented and least introspective album since his Mercury-winning debut. In fact, only on the overblown romp “Welcome To The Overground” does he put a foot wrong.

“Time Of Times”, on the other hand, is a real pleasure. Tipping its hat gently at fan favourite, “The Shining”, it encapsulates in three charming minutes everything that Brits have come to love about the bearded one. Long may he reign.

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