a short site about The Divine Comedy

A Secret History

Contract-fulfilling farewell to little label. No sign of Father Ted's My lovely Horse, alas.

The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon has fashioned a career out of arch one-liners, smirking innuendo, romantic flourishes and easy-listening ballads. Although this son of an Irish bishop has just enough earnestness to charm, this collection documents a cult turn rather than a major act. His songs were originally distinguished by literary references and self-deflation but by Casanova (1996), Hannon had redefined himself as a well-spoken lothario with Something For The Weekend and Becoming More Like Alfie. Occasionally he wears his Scott Walker-isms like a cheap suit and the arrangements drift back to the faux music hall of early David Bowie. However, the touching Songs Of Love (the theme to Father Ted), nostalgic The Summerhouse and nonsensical word-plays of new track Gin Soaked Boy offset some of the more garish material.

Steve Malins
Q Magazine 10/1999