Badly Drawn Boy, aka Damon Gough, released new album through AWAL on the 22nd of May 2020. Banana Skin Shoes is a lengthy fourteen track LP, which includes the political pop of current single, Is This A Dream?.

Having not heard much from Gough in a decade, it is a shock to learn that this is Badly Drawn Boy’s ninth album. A truly personal and heartfelt collection of songs, Banana Skin Shoes sees more of a move from the alternative we saw with the About A Boy OST to pure incandescent pop. The bulk of the album’s production was completed at Eve Studios in Stockport last year with producer Gethin Pearson (Kele Okereke, JAWS) who also mixed the whole record, and you can hear that polished pop sound.

The title track and opener is an unusual mix of funk and vocal reverb we don’t expect from BDB. Is This A Dream? is political but is reminiscent of the music I connect with when I think of Gough. The chorus, however, hits unexpectedly high notes, adding more of a Summer vibe to the single. Concluding track I’ll Do My Best is an admittance of his failings, a modest ballad that seems like a love letter to his partner.

I Just Wanna Wish You Happiness is a reflective break up ballad, with hints of Michael Buble, and Take That. I Need Someone To Trust is a retro track, combining clever lyric-writing with synths, and strings. Colours starts off promising but is a sadly disappointing and lacking repetitive track, with the lyrics “I like candy floss, you say you hate it, and that’s before you get to the taste.” Never Change feels an adequate title to incorporate in here, as I cannot get to grips with Gough’s new sound, this pure pop that to me feels lacking. However, it’s always fresh to evolve and develop this, but I fear he may have peaked too soon, as a musician.

Banana Skin Shoes is out now, via AWAL Records.