a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


Setanta has proved to be a prolific nurturing ground for new talent lately, with acts like Power of Dreams, Into Paradise and The Frank and Walters all passing through it’s emerald green doors (an onto major labels). The London-Irish label are determined to hang onto their proteges however. The Divine Comedy are four painfully young, guitar-weilding idealists who recently left the idyllic confines of their native Enniskillen for the hustle and bustle of the English capital.

“It’s been a real shock to the system”, says guitarist and songwriter Neil Hannon, he of the curious accent that makes him sound drunk even when he’s not partaking. “We don’t get pleasant meals anymore, haven’t got any money and everything’s so freely available here, like alcohol and women. Back home, if you so much as look at a girl the wrong way, you’re liable to get arrested: here, they’re almost predatory.”

TDC made their Setanta debut in 1990, with an excellent but low-key REM-ish, mini-album, Fanfare for the Comic Muse. Their career false-started due to the problems of playing live, when they were canned off with frightening alacrity! The difficulty, it seems, was that Neil Hannon couldn’t sing and play at the same time and so he’s since relinquished the vocal role to the newly recruited John Allen. Their new Edwyn Collins produced EuroPop EP boasts a fuller, harder sound than of old, and has been met with some acclaim, although certain hard-fisted cynics have commented on it’s uncanny resemblance to the spit and romance of The Chameleons, who TDC are surely too young to remember.

Their tender age (average 18) also reveals itself in their far from lucid interview technique (typical example, when asked about the state of current pop, “It’s going through a strange period, like baggydom is definely dead”) and the fact that they froze with nerves at a ‘prestigious’ support to the risable ‘Toasted Heretic’ at The Borderline recently.

“We were terrified”, says Neil. “All our rehearsals had gone really well and then it came to the gig we just fell apart. We were totally static.”

Today London, tomorrow the world. They’re gonna have to grow up. Fast.

Dave Simpson
Melody Maker 08/02/1992