a short site about The Divine Comedy

Fin De Siècle

Hannon’s fourth is a ‘comment on the 20th century’ - an ambitious but not impossible undertaking.

In 1977, Neil’s school buried a time capsule of tat, to be dug up in the year 2000; this album’s really about life between those dates. A series of vignettes heavy with Bacharach orchestration and Scott Walkeresque vocals - the usual, then - it feels like the missing links from 10 West End musicals, outtakes unsuitable for family viewing. A zoom from birth to death via romance and retirement, Hannon’s winning formula is a hefty fix of irony that indicates heartbreak underneath - very Pulp. Things gather pace from the Catalonian castanets and youthful bravado of Thrillseeker through courtly love on British Rail to a masterful closing trio: Certainty Of Chance is Desiderata for cynics; Here Comes The Flood is a sporting view of Armageddon (“In lane three, chemical warfare; in lane five, inter-racial conflict…”); Sunrise, a personal reflection of growing up in Derry and a prayer for peace, socks you in the guts. So, a bunch of retro tat? Hmm, actually quite a bit more than that.

Glyn Brown
Mojo 09/1998