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The Bavarian EP / No One Knows

The Bavarian EP

>>> See history (releases, charts by countries)
25th October 2004

  • Digital formats
    Lossy digital download (MP3, WMA, M4A) (Parlophone / Everywhere, 25/10/2004)
    Lossless digital download (WAV, FLAC) (Parlophone / Qobuz, Starzik, Pono, 12/11/2004 ?)
To coincide with the release of Live At The Palladium, The Divine Comedy experimented with their first digital only release. It seems that with Parlophone the band was allowed 3 singles per album, and instead of taking another album track, they decided to release their cover version of Queen’s Of The Stone Age’s ‘No One Knows’.

This EP title, ‘Bavarian’ refers to a joke Neil used to make during the tour before playing the song. Here is it as told in Live At The Palladium: “I was on my annual leaf-collecting holiday to Bavaria last year, and I stopped into a small family restaurant in a wooded glade. Over my sauerkraut and Riesling, I could hear the sound of a strange but wonderful song. The lederhosened proprietor said that it was an old favourite of his on 78. It was Heinz Wolf, a 1923 bizarre cabaret songwriter. So I said I had to have it. I traded my finest leaf and I brought it home and carefully transcribed it and translated it. And just as we were about to play it, I was shocked to turn on the radio and there it was being played by a heavy rock act called Queens of the Stone Age. Anyway, this is the original and best.”
The story was told so seriously that some fans really took his word! Actually it’s a style exercise of doing a contemporary song with a baroque arrangement. Neil Hannon would follow this exercise for Victory For The Comic Muse and its cover version of ‘Party Fears Two’ which is the only remain of a cover album project.

The version released on the EP is, confusingly enough, not from the London Palladium, but from the Dublin Gaiety Theatre concert which was recorded by RTE 2FM. The third track from the EP, ‘Three Sisters’ is also from the same concert. The second track is a totally different thing: a solo demo version of ‘Our Mutual Friend’ from 2003.

The EP was first released exclusively through The Divine Comedy website which provided a pop-up with all the steps for payment and download.
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The tracks were originally WMA files with DRM hosted by 7digital (hence a pop-up was displayed when playing the tracks for the first time), and therefore burning them onto CD was quite a necessary step to unlock the tracks. Hence the original download also came with a printable PDF artwork. The file, no longer available (but here), features just the front cover on the right, with a tracklisting on the left (back once folded). Its design is actually quite basic and no particular effort was made for it to look like a proper cover (background picture, copyright notes, credits).
Over the next years, the songs would become available in many digital stores, and fortunately through platforms as Qobuz providing lossless formats (but strangely still available only as mp3 on 7digital despite they offer more recent material in FLAC).