a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

Absent Friends – USA

Like Regeneration the album Absent Friends was distributed in the US through a deal with independent label Nettwerk. The album was released over there in May 4th 2004, but unlike Regeneration Nettwerk didn’t distributed the album in Australia that time.
To promote the album a small tour with a trio line-up was scheduled in September 2004 and it would be last time Neil Hannon would perform in America.

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The Nettwerk album copy is nearly designed the same way as the European release, and does not feature any extra. The back cover features the Nettwerk logo in addition to the Parlophone logo. The copyright notes refer to the licensing to Nettwerk and has their contact information. And of course the serial number is totally different from the EMI prints. The bar code is not to be found on the middle of the top, but in the top right corner. The spines also features the serial number preceded by ‘Nettwerk’.

Strangely, the other side of inlay keeps the copyright note from the inlay, which is mainly EMI’s concern over piracy, and advertising their new platform Music from EMI.
The booklet hasn’t got any major difference to the UK release. However, the last page has the US serial number printed on the bottom-left corner.
And, as most of US releases, the case has a bar code sticker over the top. It features just the album titles, and the catalogue number 30363.
Finally, the CD itself is still designed as a blue plaque, although its design is different: the positions of the big texts are different. Unlike the EMI prints it does not feature any copyright notes over the left and right, just simple Parlophone and Nettwerk logos. The bottom features just the copyright year to EMI and a ‘Made in USA’ mention with the serial number.
Strangely two kinds of prints seem to exist: one is darker with bold writing and has a transparent label, while the other is lighter with a thinner writing and a plain blue label.
On the other side, near the centre we can read:
  • 067003036320
  • IFPI L043
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Promo CD

Image There are two kinds of promos for Absent Friends in the US. The first is actually a regular CD, with a promotional sticker put on the CD disc. It may come either in a regular case with the booklet, either in a generic ‘Nettwerk America Publicity’ cardboard sleeve as the CD-R.

Promo CD-R

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Image The other kind is a CD-R. It features the titles at the top, the serial number on the left with the release date in the US. A Nettwerk logo on the right. The bottom features the tracklisting (notice the mistake ‘Come Home Billy Budd’ on both CD and sleeve’s sticker). And then copyright notes, serial number, and finally a reference to DNA Mastering, although they likely just duplicated the disc…
This disc comes within a generic ‘Nettwerk America Publicity’ cardboard sleeve. The cover features on its back an album-specific sticker featuring its name and tracklisting, as well as contact info. Some, unlike others, seem to have the beginning of the sentence cut, certainly a mistake corrected afterwards.