a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

London Highbury Garage

Make no mistake, this is a special occasion. The Divine Comedy's album, "Liberation" has been one of 1993's small wonders, a baroque treasure of classic eccentricity where Brideshead Revisited and William Wordsworth go pop. Scott Walker meets the Pet Shop Boys, Michael Nyman reorganises James, Mr. Benn discovers Weltschmerz, and Oscar Wilde finally joins The Smiths...A veritable cornucopia - as Hannon would put it - of arch, emotive delights.

This low key support slot is The Divine Comedy's first show for 18months, since they metamorphosed from a promising but unfulfilled Irish jangling quartet into Hannon's wildly idiosyncratic solo project. Sat meekly onstage, with only an acoustic guitar, some tinny programmed keyboards and a very proper violinist for company, the transformations astounding.

As his deep, prematurely ancient voice soars through the beautifully elegiac "Your Daddy's Car", it becomes apparent that he has a shameless bravado which can transcend the nervousness, and get away with any number of heady pretentions.

The whole affair has the air of a chamber recital - Hannon included - appreciates the stylish propriety, but also recognises and relishes the patent ludicrousness. And when he faithfully sashays through Mark Eitzel's "The Animal Pen" and ends with a quietly flamboyant, swooning setting of Wordsworth's "Lucy", even the crowds here to see Gerard Langley's hollow, charmless posturing are converted. Touched by the presence of the touched.

John Mulvey
NME 09/10/1993