a short site about The Divine Comedy

A Short Album About Love

So the guy is a little too arch for his own good. So Chris Evans likes him. So The Divine Comedy sound suspiciously like someone lobbed Scott Walker, Kurt Weill, Jarvis Cocker, Jimmy Webb, Nelson Riddle, Burt Bacharach and the late Billy MacKenzie into a big old tureen and turned them into soup. Still there is something fabulous about Neil Hannon’s symphonic pop swagger.

After the masterful Casanova, Hannon decided to salvage a bunch of songs he’d shelved as being too unselfconsciously romantic and record them live with an orchestra: songs like In Pursuit Of Happiness, Everybody Knows (Except You) and If…, which includes clunky lines like “If you were a horse, I’d clean the crap out of your stables”. And you know what? With the exception of the cheerless, Sinatra-sings-Schubert Timewatching and the bold, beautiful If I Were You (I’d Be Through With Me) - The Righteous Brothers with a loungecore makeover - A Short Album About Love lacks the waggishness and melodic guile of Casanova gems like Middle-Class Heroes and The Frog Princess. So maybe archness is Hannon’s métier after all.

Barney Hoskyns
Mojo 04/1997