Some music tells stories; in the case of Banana Skin Shoes, Damon Gough can hardly stop talking, putting much of his life in the last eight years out there for all to hear. It’s his first album in eight years, but the exile wasn’t wholly self-imposed, as during this time he experienced the breakdown of a long term relationship, suffered chronic illness fought alcohol and depression related issues.
The good times didn’t roll but having turned the corner after a spell in rehab in 2015, Gough began writing the thirty or so tunes which he would eventually whittle down to the fourteen which make the cut here. The time for reflection also told him to change his process: gone was the deliberate shaping of his music into a homogeneous flow, in came just picking the ones he thought were the strongest. The result is a different kind of Badly Drawn Boy album.
This isn’t to be clear a revolution as I’m Not Sure proves, but the overall mould is of the diaphanous sounds of Steve Mason or The Pictish Trail underscored by forthright, sometimes melancholy lyrics which offer a starkly honest biography. When Gough hits the mark on I’m Not Sure What It Is and Is This A Dream though, Banana Skin Shoes is a joy.
You can read a full review here.