Have You Fed the Fish?

Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. The music here combines the scrappy, psychedelic folk of Hour of Bewilderbeast with the more melodic and sentimental "About a Boy" soundtrack.
  2. If he still sounds semi-conscious half the time, so be it. Three albums into his misleading career and Damon Gough, it seems, can still write strange, life-affirming pop music in his sleep.
  3. That's just the thing with Badly Drawn Boy-- he doesn't care about momentum, or continuity, or a lot of other things that you might quite reasonably care about when you sit down to listen to his records.
  4. There is a flow and coherence to these fifteen tracks that make the narrative whole much larger than the sum of its occasionally goofy parts.
  5. Where once the bark was of Beck, we have - and this hurts - Wings.
  6. It's the rare guitar geek who acts like strings and horns are where he's always belonged rather than where he hopes he'll fit in.
  7. A treasure trove of musical curios.
  8. At its worst (on the title track, for example), Have You Fed The Fish? sounds uncomfortably bloated; the superfluous instruments and noises obscure the inherent lightness of Gough's cabaret-influenced songwriting.... But even the worst of Have You Fed The Fish? isn't all that bad.
  9. Alternative Press
    90
    Unlike most of his contemporaries, singer-songwriter Gough is willing to explore all sorts of styles while allowing himself to be as playful or serious as he wants. [Dec 2002, p.74]
  10. The disappointments just keep on coming.
  11. Taken individually, several of the tracks on the disc are the best that Gough has ever done. As a whole, the album just flows a bit inconsistently.
  12. Uncut
    100
    Arguably, not since early Costello has a British solo artist combined such bare-arsed soulfulness with such corrosively perceptive humour. Quite something. [Album of the Month, Nov 2002, p.112]
  13. It's not that Have You Fed the Fish? is vastly inferior to Gough's debut so much as it's an unbalanced and ultimately frustrating album.
  14. Q Magazine
    80
    Finds Gough at his most stylistically promiscuous to date. [Nov 2002, p.102]
  15. There are ideas galore here, which is always admirable, though you feel he could have taken the 15 tracks, whittled it down to 10, and developed all this stuff to staggering effect.
  16. Blender
    40
    His second proper album tempers the jollity with some beef, or at least a couple of traditional rock-guitar solos, and the result is an uncharacteristic stiffness. [#11, p.125]
  17. Entertainment Weekly
    83
    The abnormal-for-him buoyancy wears thin, but Gough ultimately outpaces most of his U.K. sensitive-soul peers. [29 Nov 2002, p.106]
  18. This collection of quirky tunes is largely directionless, with Gough's indistinct voice sounding lost and uncertain in a swell of pianos, strings and horn arrangements.
  19. Mojo
    80
    Part of a singular lineage of deceptively amiable and peculiarly British music that reaches back from Supergrass to Madness and Squeeze. [Nov 2002, p.102]
  20. Magnet
    70
    Nowhere near as strong and complete as Bewilderbeast, but its best moments burn just as brightly. [#57, p.81]
  21. Spin
    70
    Gough sounds like a guy celebrating his birthday in an airport cocktail bar. [Jan 2003, p.99]
  22. 60
    Have You Fed the Fish? seems like a bit of a let down. A surprisingly catchy and listenable disappointment, but a disappointment nonetheless.
  23. Plainly put, there's something missing in Have You Fed The Fish -- something fresh and whimsical, a tie that binds the songs together, and that endearing twinge that made The Hour such a masterpiece.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Oct 26, 2011
    7
    The follow up proper to Hour of Bewilderbeast - It doesn't quite live up to his debut. There are some good idea's here but they aren't fullyThe follow up proper to Hour of Bewilderbeast - It doesn't quite live up to his debut. There are some good idea's here but they aren't fully developed on here. Everything he got right on Bewilderbeast, doesn't quite come off for him here and at times the record has a bit of a dreary feel to it. Having said that there are still enough good tracks to make it a worthwhile listen. Full Review »
  2. Aug 28, 2011
    9
    I think this album is a victim of bad track ordering, the second half of the album doesn't quite flow as much as the first. Its still great,I think this album is a victim of bad track ordering, the second half of the album doesn't quite flow as much as the first. Its still great, the songcraft is as good as HOTB but just not as frequent, You Were Right is his best song yet and arguably one of the most touching songs ever written. Full Review »
  3. MikeP
    Feb 11, 2007
    4
    I really enjoyed The Hour of Bewilderbeast and the About A Boy soundtrack but he's lost something since then. This is quite a boring I really enjoyed The Hour of Bewilderbeast and the About A Boy soundtrack but he's lost something since then. This is quite a boring album with mildly irritating lyrics and weak tunes. There is none of the brilliance of Disillusion, Once Around the Block, Something To Talk About or Silent Sigh here. Full Review »