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Competantly Drawn Album
on 16 March 2004
As Big a fan as I am of the wooly hatted wizzard, this was one of the biggest musical dissapointments of my young life (Not that I've had an old one).
Where 'Hour of the bewilderbeast' fizzed with experimental oddness, 'Have you...' seems a bit mainstream in comparison. That is, mainstream for Badly Drawn boy who is still 743 times wierder that coldplay or travis and shows this with his great sense of humour declaring 'I turned madonna down' and 'I wrestled the octopuss'. However the quirky titles and lyrics promise something that the album dosen't completely deliver. 'What is it now' is could have been shoved in the background of an episode of Baywatch or Saved by the bell or (insert gratuitously sunny american trash TV show). 'Using our feet' shows BDB coping with the pressures of fame... Huh? come on, the only thing people might recognise him for is his hat and they're only late night radio 1 listeners and people who have the good taste to look further than MTV and the Box for thier musical Fixes. He also shamelessly rips off Marvin Gaye's 'Sexual Healing' on 'The further I slide' to the point where you expect him to go 'Baaaaaaaaaaybeeeeeee I woke up this mornin...' and so on. Title track 'Have you fed the fish' flaunts coolness in the way that his About a boy soundtrack did but without the effortless charm in the same way as ' imaginary lines' and '40 days 40 fights'. It all starts to sound a bit lumpy and kind of uninspired, as if it's saying 'look how uncool this all is...how cool is that?'
That said 'All Possibilities' is a glorious pop tune in the vein of 'Dissillusion' that leaves you gasping for more of his tune-full magic and then it comes by the bucket full with 'I was wrong' and 'You were right' (Nice touch). The former being a soulful prologue to the free flowing comeback single 'You were right' where he steals the riff from Daft Punk's 'Digital Love' but attaches it to soaring verses that laugh in the face of any sort of form or structure, extending some phrases to fit in his very personal lyrics about love, loss and turning madonna down. Brilliant. Other highlights are 'Centrepiece', an enticingly sad waltz like instrumental and closer 'Bedside story' which sounds like the perfect balance between his new fuller sound and his old quirkyness
On the whole 'Have you...' seems like it's trapped between BDB's oddball roots of playing in a tent at Glasto, and a desperation to have his songs make an appearance on CD:UK and top of the pops more often (and without the words 'in at number 39')
If you can get past a few flaws with it, such as the odd song that's below par and that female voice that keeps coming in and making things sound worryingly Stereophonicsish, then there's enough on the album to keep most people satysfied. Just don't expect it to be the soundtrack to your summer/winter/whatever like 'hour...'was.