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Have You Fed the Fish

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 9, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

HAVE YOU FED THE FISH? opens with the most subtle of skits before launching into the title track, a 70s-style power ballad out of the Stephen Bishop songbook. The title track fades into crunchy, imploring angry indie rock in the Modest Mouse tradition ("40 Days, 40 Fights") which shifts into a swirling disco-era dance number ("All Possibilities") then disintegrates into an earnest epic, lyrically Dylan-esque love song suite ("I Was Wrong/You Were Right"). Incorporating something like seven verses, a whistled interlude, a synth solo and a couple kitchen sinks. And that's Damon Gough (aka. Badly Drawn Boy) in a nutshell; he could be called Beck without the gimmicks, bells and whistles, but more aptly should be referred to as his ultimate own man. HAVE YOU FED THE FISH?, the prolific BDB's second record of 2002, displays the linguistic mastery of a Swiftian wordsmith, someone who loves to toy with the language while understanding the value of restraint in a well-turned phrase, a wit which can exhibit the sharpest irony but also possesses the guts to write a song as breathtakingly sincere as the aforementioned "You Were Wrong/I Was Right," a song as beautiful and as achingingly clumsy as is the truest of love. "Unlike most of his contemporaries, singer-songwriter Gough is willing to explore all sorts of styles while allowing himself to be as playful or serious as he wants"--Alternative Press.


"...An album to grow with. An album to fall in love with...Genius confirmed." -- Uncut - 5 stars out of 5

"...Gough's now chalked up an unbroken run of three hugely enjoyable albums..." -- Q Magazine - 4 stars out of 5

"...Jaunty and sonically expansive..." -- Entertainment Weekly - Rating: B+

"...There is a flow and coherence to these fifteen tracks..." One of RS 50 Best Albums of 2002. -- Rolling Stone - 4 stars out of 5

"A treasure trove of musical curios" -- Billboard

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Coming In To Land
  2. Have You Fed The Fish
  3. Born Again
  4. 40 Days, 40 Fights
  5. All Possibiliies
  6. I Was Wrong
  7. You Were Right
  8. Centrepeace
  9. How
  10. Further I Slide, The
  11. Imaginary Lines
  12. Using Our Feet
  13. Tickets To What You Need
  14. What Is It Now
  15. Bedside Story

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 9, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Xl Recordings
  • ASIN: B00065GIGO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,067 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After his brilliant debut, "Hour of Bewilderbeast," Badly Drawn Boy (real name: Damon Gough) had a lot to live up to in his second (non-soundtrack) album. And he comes close to delivering in "Have You Fed the Fish?", a sparkling folky-pop album that displays his musical depth and complexity.

It opens with an announcer (like on a plane) informing us that outside the window is a cloud that looks just like Badly Drawn Boy. It's a pretentious moment that isn't too annoying -- especially when it dissolves into sparkling, layered pop. Gough relies on piano pop in songs like "40 Days 40 Fights," and the passionate ballad "How." It's his best area; he can really wring feeling from those keys.

But he also dips into the more acoustic sound, with the danceable "Born Again" and the low-key "I Was Wrong." And "Tickets To What You Need" is more acoustic than any other song -- stripped down, with Gough's vocals in the forefront, he sounds like he's standing on a table and joyously singing to the crowds. After a few more chillingly panoramic pop melodies and piano-led laments, he bows out in the soaring fuzz-guitar "Bedside Story."

It's all too easy to alienate someone you love, perhaps forever. Gough seems to be speaking through his songs to someone else, saying "I Was Wrong," "You Were Right" (two songs from the middle of this album). He retains the experimental edge, giving extra layers and sonic flourishes to what could have been an ordinary indie-folk-pop album.

If there's any flaw in "Have You Fed The Fish?", it's that it seems sometimes that Gough is trying a little too hard. Relax, mate. His acoustic guitar and exquisite piano playing are the middle of the album's sound, but he backs it up with horns, strings, sometimes thunderous percussion, and cymbals.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been hooked on BDB since "...Bewilderbeast" and this album definitely did not fail in continuing to raise my expectations on what a fine songwriter Damon Gough is, but I couldn't help but hearing some similarities between the track "All Possibilities" to that of a song by Khanoda called "That's My Desire" from his album "Klosure" released in 1998 originally (according to Amazon). Same guitar strumming kind of jaunt with a trumpet break. Now mind you, this hadn't occured to me until recently when I went back to hear "All Posibilities" after hearing it in a Target commercial (oddly enough, I often overlooked the track since it felt like I heard it before, and now I know where). It also made me wonder if "Something To Talk About", from the "About A Boy" soundtrack by BDB released in 2002, is a response, or tribute, or whatever, to Khanoda's song "Something To Shout About", also from his album "Klosure". Is there a connection?
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Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to Badly Drawn Boy through his outstanding soundtrack work on the film "About a Boy." Wanting to give his catelogue of music a try, I purchased his albums "Have you Fed the Fish?," and "The Hour of the Bewilderbeast."
While "Fish" started out with an interesting hook of what sounds like a pilot speaking over the intercom on a plane (Coming in to Land), it then launches into a driving refrain before pulling back. "Have you Fed the Fish" is a slower tempo song, with "Born Again" being another up tempo song..."All Possibilities" can now be heard on Target commercials...I won't delve into each and every song on the album...I will note that unlike the immediately loved "About a Boy" soundtrack, "Have You Fed the Fish" has grown on me with each listen...I thoroughly enjoy the album now and would highly recommend it.
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