It’s been ten years since Badly Drawn Boy’s last studio album, the world has changed a lot, Damon Gough’s life has changed a lot, yet there’s something reassuringly familiar about ‘Banana Skin Shoes’.  Gough recently revealed that he was inspired by the The Beastie Boys book, and wanted to return to the drum loops and sample based bedroom recording songs of his early days, and this really shines through on his latest offering, as some of the tunes on here go as far back as the 90s but were never quite finished in Gough’s opinion, whereas others were written and recorded more recently with producer Youth or in various studios around the northwest.

Although several songs on the album deal with the split from his ex-wife, there’s a tone of optimism peppered throughout the album, as in the years away, he has also found new love and remarried. Gough has always been a master at combining electronic with folk, and classic rock sensibilities, and the tracks on ‘Banana Skin Shoes’ go from the upbeat Beck-style beats of the title track and ‘Is This A Dream’, to the more gentle string laden sounds of ‘Never Change’ with Gough stating “take a look ahead of what’s in front of you, you can never change what’s gone before”. Gough has mentioned that he wanted record to be an antidote to negativity, and although some of the songs came from troubled times he’s managed to create such a buoyant sound throughout the whole album, especially on ‘I Just Want To Wish You Happiness’ with Gough stating “I just want to wish you happiness, for the time that I was with you, and the rest”.

‘Tony Wilson Said’ is a tribute to the brilliant media maverick that also reflects his love for the culture and music scene in this city, whilst also paying homage to the way Wilson was such an enabler and champion of music and the arts. It was also one of the songs Gough worked on with producer Keir Stewart, who was a former member of The Durutti Column, and finds Gough reminiscing “he left more than a million footprints all over this town”.

‘Note To Self’ wouldn’t have sounded out of place on his debut Mercury Prize winning album ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’ with its opening lines of “Do I trust myself to believe in everything that I feel, and not kid myself by trying to reinvent the wheel” backed by a gentle acoustic guitar and drum loops powering the self-belief themed tune along. The album’s fourteen songs end with the beautiful ‘I’ll Do My Best’ with Gough reflecting “There’s no good making promises, if they fail and go wrong, I’ve been a fool for chasing happiness, when it was there all along” with a classic Badly Drawn Boy musical backing of guitars, pianos trumpets and gentle drums.

In a recent interview he stated that whilst his brilliant debut album ‘The Hour of The Bewilderbeast’ is twenty years old this year, currently he feels creatively alive again as he has plenty of new songs in the pipeline which hopefully we won’t have to wait another ten years to hear! It’s good to have such vibrant new music from the woolly hatted one with a musical return that’s been well worth the wait.

Badly Drawn Boy – Banana Skin Shoes: Out 22 May 2020 (AWAL Records)

Badly Drawn Boy Official | Facebook | Twitter


From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.