a short site about The Divine Comedy

A Divine Accord

There’s nothing remotely understated about The Divine Comedy, a band that has spent much of the past decade wooing fans of orchestral pop with ever more complex forays into the dark side of live and the strata of sound. While that evolution continues apace on Regeneration - which Nettwerk issues in November 5 – leader Neil Hannon says there’s been something of a change in philosophy.

“If you get beneath the dark exterior, there’s definitely more of an optimistic vibe going on,” Hannon, a 31-year-old native of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, tells ICE. “For a long time, I insisted of making people come to me… in order to appreciate the music. Nowadays, I think there’s more of a willingness to meet halfway.”

For evidence of that, one need only look to Hannon’s relinquishing of production duties – which were taken over by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck). Godrich winnowed that band’s sound down: a bit on songs like the surprisingly rocking ‘Note To Self’ and the sniggering ‘Dumb It Down’, but the band’s on philosophies have shifted markedly.

“We used to be quite satisfied with being seen as ‘different’, which was both a good thing and a bad thing,” says Hannon. “Individual songs ended up being very good but it was hard to listen to an album the whole way through due to the nature of the songs. With this album, we approached it from the point of view of not creating individual songs but a coherent album.”

Indeed, Regeneration, which follows on heels of A Secret History: The Best of the Divine Comedy - a compilation of songs from the aggregation’s previous five album – is more a sequel’s beginning than a new chapter, but Hannon insists that he has not turned his back on his past.

“All the big orchestras and choirs are gone, but we’re still the same band,’ he says. “I don’t think people who’ve been fond of the band in the past will be disappointed.”

Ice 01/11/2001