a short site about The Divine Comedy

Promenade

Quite the most desirable of this month’s releases comes from 23-year-old Neil Hannon (aka Divine Comedy), the bookish, Derry-born son of a Northern Irish bishop. He flaunts his literacy as the majority of pop stars do their ignorance. In his song ‘The Booklovers’, for example – he lists virtually every major writer from Aphra Behn to Salman Rushdle. Not only does he get them in the right chronological order, but he also pronounced their names correctly and even hints, by way of a witty aside after each one, that he has actually read their work. His music is similarly refined. With its washes of classical piano, haunting string arrangements and elegantly sparse melodies, it sounds like a catchier version of the minimalist scores Michael Nyman used to write for Peter Greenaway movies. The lyrics are like James Joyce sung by Vivian Stanshall. It’s part of a new genre called ‘chamber pop’, apparently and it’s so good that if you’re not careful, it may put oyu off electric guitar altogether.


Chris Heath
Sunday Telegraph 17/04/1994