a short site about The Divine Comedy


Prior to his rebirth as indie's most unlikely Casanova, Neil Hannon was more likely to go on a date armed with a slim volume of verse than a packet of rubber johnnies. Liberation and Promenade chart his progress from bookish fop to full-blown roister-doisterer.

Liberation discovers Hannon in ambrosial mood, casting himself as a posh Billy Liar. Begining the day as Mr Been on 'Festive Road' and ending as Wordsworth in 'Lucy', he renders the urban and mundane epic and glorious. The baroque string arrangements are impressive, if a bit over ostentatious, and the two songs - 'Queen Of The South' and 'Victoria Falls' - are sparkly pop perfection itself.

Promenade is like Liberation, only more so, based around the events of a day in which two childhood sweethearts are reunited. To a soundtrack which embraces chamber music, Michael Nyman and The Smiths, our hero waxes lyrical about all the books he's read ('The Booklovers'), get some decent nosebag ('A Seafood Song') and gives God the finger ('Don't Look Down') before getting pissed and bedding his old paramour. Woof, woof!

Soundbite: "Love's labours not lost"

Liberation: 3/5
Promenade: 3/5

Dan Phelan
Select 10/1997