45 45s #25 Badly Drawn Boy – Once around the block (XL Recordings, 1999)

Badly Drawn BoyHis albums may be a bit hit and miss, but when he gets it right, Damon Gough is up there with the best in terms of marrying words and music. With this song, he does that to perfection, as musically it mirrors its title, and takes you round and round the block, the cycling harmonies acting as the breeze at your back, and for one stretch of the square, the wind in your face.  The lead guitar has a jazz feel, as do the brushes across the drum kit and the vibraphone which enters the song late on, but taken as a whole it’s perfectly confected pop.  Perfectly confected pop which just happens to break all the rules, because there is no chorus, no middle eight, just that ever-cycling, minutely varying round and round.  It’s like a train of thought you can’t get off, and nor do you want to.  ‘Take a left, a sharp left, and another left, meet me on the corner, we’ll start, again.’  A dog-chasing-its-tail of a song, the dog being perhaps something as immortal as your long-dead four-pawed childhood companion, chasing through the blue sky summers of memory.

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