By Badly Drawn Boy
The latest instalment in Damon Gough's trophy cabinet is his 4th album One Plus One Is One, seemingly coming out of nowhere, with little fanfare or prior warning and only just preceded by the first single "The year of the Rat".
From the outset this record feels really stripped down. Fans of his previous work will be happy as there's the original quirkiness of Damon's previous work, the acoustic guitars and odd tinkering from other instruments, but it just somehow feels different, more spacious. All production has been kept to a bare minimum making this album sound almost like an expensive demo. This will divide some listeners, but at least Gough hasn't made the same record twice, which would be invariably worse and a lot easier to do.
You get a feeling this record has a sense of homecoming, which becomes clear when you read the inner sleeve and realise it's all recorded in Stockport, about 15 minutes away from where Damon Gough lives.
There are issues such as home, family and death touched on this LP and while being very personal it's never self indulgent. "Takes the Glory" is one of the most obvious with the line "To live in the hearts of those he loved is not to die" referring to Gough's grandfather who died in the Second World War. This essentially sums up the mood of the album, a reflection on relationships and mortality.
The "Year of the Rat" is the obvious single with its anthemic chorus, complete with a children's choir, but you'd struggle to find another stand out release from this record. This isn't to say this album is not as good as his previous albums, this is supposed to be different to his previous work and the lack of studio trickery does it no harm, instead it lets the album's songs stand on their own merits.