a short site about The Divine Comedy

Regeneration

Album number seven from Neil Hannon and his divine crew

It may have taken seven studio albums [and one best of], but the Divine Comedy have finally made a consistently ace album. In the past, there have been occasional flashes of greatness - 'Frog Princess,' 'Everybody Knows Except You', 'Becoming More Like Alfie' - interspersed with up itself rubbish ['Generation Sex', 'National Express']..

Nigel Godrich, a man known for bringing fame and fortune to Travis and helping Radiohead with 'Kid A', is partly to thank for them getting it right. The arrangements are slicker, thanks to his encouragement non-Hannon members of the band had a greater input, and this gives the album a new-found depth.

Neil Hannon still writes the lyrics, and this time they're clever without being smart-arse. They're often melancholy ['Lost Property' is a sweet recital of things he's lost, 'Mastermind' and 'Eye of the Needle' are piano led, simple, with the songwriting being allowed to do the talking.] 'Why doesn't he answer? I've prayed til I'm blue in the face' goes the latter.

As seems to be the wont of bands at the moment, there's echoes of Radiohead in there. 'Timestretched' is a gentle, mournful way to start the album, and is not unlike 'Motion Picture Soundtrack'. The rather ace 'Eye of the Needle' is as knowingly frail as 'High And Dry,' but with horns.

There's also a new found regeneration in the way that a couple of the tracks are addictively groovy - with basslines to get those hips moving. 'Bad Ambassador' in particular is a highlight, whilst the ascent 'Note To Self' makes from quiet reflection to 'What the fuck is happening?' anger is impressive.

In the words of every band member, 'Perfect Lovesong' is the band's stab at a number one. Built around a 'big old Beach Boys sound', it deserves to top every Valentines chart next year. If you've got a heart, you'll love it.

A triumph in the face of mediocrity, 'Regeneration' will appeal to lovers of tunes every where. And this is a good thing.

8.5/10


Samir Marthur
The Brain Farm