a short site about The Divine Comedy

Cue Fanfare!

The London-Irish Setanta label certainly know where to find melodists for there’s not one dud tune on this seven-track album from Northern trio The Divine Comedy. Ably produced by Sean O’Neill, Fanfare For The Comic Muse may be another album of jangling guitars from sensitive Irish boys falling in and out of love as they wear their tender hearts on their (green) sleeves, but there’s nothing imprecise about their tunes, arrangements and leader Neil Hannon’s articulate guitar-playing.

Of course, The Divine Comedy might irk anyone who believes big boys don’t and shouldn’t cry. This is pre-Raphaelite rock where you don’t always know where the genuine adolescent compassion ends and the feyness begins. My only reservation about them is whether Hannon can bolster his lyrics or will always have his ideas limited by the abstractions of the rhyming dictionary. Certainly, this album isn’t always rarefied. ‘Tailspin’ shows a more aggressive streak while ‘The Rise And Fall’ shimmers off into the desert as if The Divine Comedy were Country Edge And The Fish.

Fanfare For The Comic Muse definitely proves The Divine Comedy’s quality as song-stylists. Now if they have the substance, they could be special.


Bill Graham
Hot Press 20/09/1990