a short site about The Divine Comedy

A Secret History

For reasons beyond human comprehension, Neil Hannon continues to set up camp in the upper reaches of the charts with an ultra-tepid, ultra-English brand of foppish whimsy that your grandparents might have heard on Radio 2 in 1978 and banished for being ‘not radical enough’. “But you fail to see the dark, knowing side to his acerbic easy listening anthems,” say the postmodernists, as if Hannon’s is-he-or-isn’t-he-being-ironic stance excuses the limp innuendo of Something for the Weekend and lame phrasing of The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count. Well, Val Doonican’s cardigan to that. A Secret History - the now familiar ‘featuring two new tracks’ greatest-hits con - is Morrissey with all the arid wit exchanged for stale conceitedness. Thinking of leaving the country, but needing that one final push? Buy this.


Tom Cox
The Guardian 03/09/2001