a short site about The Divine Comedy


This album is doomed in the U.S., just doomed. What chance does it have with a bunch of people who wouldn’t watch professional wrestling when its ranks included such working-class heroes as Killer Kowaiski and Dick The Bruiser but who eat it up now that its glitz makes Nashville or Vegas look like exercises in understatement? It’s no wonder that Regeneration, loudly huzzah’d by the British press upon its release in March, hasn’t been issued over here until now; people must’ve been developing strategies to cushion songwriter Neil Hannon against the blow when his lovely, grand album met with total apathy in the biggest music market on Earth. Regeneration is pretty, clever, meticulously planned and tastefully executed. I wish some of my countrymen would prove me wrong and embrace Hannon’s lush vision, his quietly melancholy lyrical voice and his ear for moody, drifting melodies. I wish there were some point in quoting Hannon’s hermetic little Irish couplets (he’s from Belfast) – “Exercise your freedom / Exorcise those demons” – in an American music publication. But there isn’t. Between the complexity of Regeneration’s 50-minute arc and the stunning beauty of its constituent parts, grown-up themes and deceptive subtleties, it never had a change with the likes of us.

John Darnielle
Magnet 12/2001 - 01/2002