a short site about The Divine Comedy


Seventh album from the foppish one, produced by Radiohead’s favoured knob-twiddler Nigel Godrich.

With its cast of busty Swedes and horny commuters, Neil Hannon’s last LP, Fin De Siècle, saw him almost disappearing into self-parody. But now he’s eschewed the ridiculous for a stab at the sublime, with impressively maudlin results. So instead of vignettes about saucy coach hostesses, we get songs about the perils of being a minor celebrity (“Is he that guy? Oh, what’s his name”, he sighs on Timestretched), growing old and even the beauty industry. Gone is the obsession with Broadway chintz, as Hannon backs his sombre musings with autumnal, string-filled exercises in restraint. Of course, he doesn’t keep a straight face all the time. On Perfect Love Song he croons about writing a tune with “a big old Beach Boys sound”, just as the song explodes into a Wilson pastiche. But after 11 years making records, Hannon has positioned himself as the next Thom Yorke very nicely.

John Mullen
Mojo 04/2001