Badly Drawn Boy

Born in the U.K. (EMI)

SXSW Reviews

Badly Drawn Boy

Born in the U.K. (EMI)

Damon Gough's fifth album is an interesting, if problematic, companion to Bruce Springsteen's working-man's anthem "Born in the U.S.A." Put bluntly, Born in the U.K. is a grower, not a shower. A cursory listen is stultifyingly dull and alarmingly same-y, a pale follow-up to 2004's One Plus One Is One (Astralwerks). A more careful ear reveals the sort of complexity we've come to expect from our Boy over the years. The title track gestures in the direction of the aforementioned anthem, although it adopts an appropriately British approach to national pride as Gough sings, "Then you see the Union Jack and know that it means nothing." That sense of futility sustains itself across the rest of the album, with "Promises" serving as the most striking specimen in a collection that wants your attention but certainly isn't going to beg for it. (Friday, March 16, Stubb's, 11:30pm)

**.5

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