Live review: Badly Drawn Boy

Is Damon Gough’s new material, performed at the Bloomsbury Theatre, as woolly as his hats?

Dressed like a 40-year-old student and blinking from beneath his trademark wool hat, Damon Gough is the epitome of the unassuming musician.

Just him, his semi-acoustic guitar and some rehearsed patter, Gough fingerpicks his way through the beautiful The Shining, Once Around The Block and About A Boy, all reassuringly careworn testaments to his talents as a Mercury-winning songsmith.

Understated optimism, romance and reflection pervade the set, including new material from his latest album It’s What I’m Thinking.

“I’m a failure at heart,” he sings during the title track as he’s joined on stage by Stephen Fretwell and friends, fleshing out his sound for the second half with some pleasant textures.

But his plaintive delivery and snappy lyrical turns were too often swept up in the shoegaze-indie soup of his bandmates, which included Manchester’s Stephen Fretwell on bass.

The impact and simple beauty of Gough’s music tends towards the slow-burn, but once attuned, the likes of In Safe Hands, another new number, still boast a pleasantly beguiling beauty.