THE ABILITY of the arts to speak to the moment we find ourselves in, regardless of the original circumstances of its creation, has been keenly felt during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Music, for many, has provided solace, comfort, and solidarity, with songs written before Covid-19 became a reality speaking to many about their lives at this moment.
Into this uncertain world has come the first new album in a decade by British singer-songwriter Damon Gough (aka Badly Drawn Boy ), and there is solace and hope for these times to be found within its 14 tracks, which range from funk, to acoustic, to loungecore, to indie, to soul-pop.
'Is This A Dream?' is an appeal for solidarity and responsibility; 'Note To Self' calls for understanding of another's plight ("Always be good to the people we meet/when we have no clue what they're going through" ); while 'I'm Not Sure What It Is', (which shares something of 'Once Around The Block's off-kilter rhythm ) speaks most resonantly.
'This is an album of compassion, a gentle humanity, and a faith in the better side of human nature'
"The true test is how you feel when you're alone/the best part of the future is unknown/and the next part of our story is untold," he declares in the track's choris. In Gough's sensitive delivery, this becomes a declaration of hope, of a new future we can create from the ashes of the past, and an openness to new possibilities.
This is an album of compassion, a gentle humanity, and a faith in the better side of human nature - reflected in the enveloping balm and reassurance of the music as much as their lyrics - qualities necessary at any time, but especially now.