a short site about The Divine Comedy


Son of the Primate of All Ireland and composer of the Father Ted theme, Neil Hannon is The Divine Comedy. It's hard to imagine a pop star more out of time in 1996: he's louche, suave, Wildean, literate and self-raised on Scott Walker and Michael Nyman. Hannon has just released the best pop album of 1996 in Casanova, and these are the records that got him there. Liberation (1993) featured indie rock guitar and drums more conspicuously than Hannon would later prefer, but his palette was already complete: lots of yearning cellos, his own ship-shape light tenor voice, and a lust for life that would shame a Gallagher. Though mimsiness intruded (Festive Road was a tribute to children's TV masquerader Mr Benn), it glowed with life and boasted a song about hay fever (The Pop Singer's Fear Of The Pollen Count). Promenade (1994) was more daring, with a sepulchral inter-war flavour and sufficient bottle to place a lament for the decline of European cinema next to songs about getting drunk and eating prawns. Beautifully arranged and intermittently hilarious, both records show what the Pet Shop Boys would sound like if they'd formed in 1907. *** (3 stars)

Andrew Harrison
Q Magazine 10/1996