a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

V/A: Les Inrockuptibles - Nectar

Les Inrockuptibles - Nectar

  • Formats (editor / manufacturer / distributor, date)
    CD (Labels / Societé Nouvelle A.R.E.A.C.E.M. / Les Inrockuptibles, 11/1994): 
    SA 3458
Here is an interesting disc. Not really by the track appearing on it, but by what it says about the group at this time.

Let’s remember: we are in the end of 1994, a time where Les Inrockuptibles are still a monthly magazine delivering CD to subscribers only. This compilation is one of them, and group together unreleased tracks (at the time) by different artists which had impressed the editorial staff in 1994. At this time, The Divine Comedy is better known in France than in UK. We are at the end of the Promenade era, or even a pre-Casanova time; the press is already announcing the release of a new album for the beginning of 1995. The Divine Comedy just gave two gigs in France (in Paris and Sens) and a Black Session to play the new songs. At the Black Session, only four titles were played: ‘When The Lights Go Out All Over Europe’ (Promenade), ‘Three Sisters’ (Liberation) and two new ones: ‘If I Were You (I’d Be Through With Me)’ and ‘The Dogs And The Horses’. We don’t know the setlists of the gigs, but the band was already an embryo of what The Divine Comedy would become in the years to come: Joby, who had joined the band for a year, brought his flat mate Stuart Bates in the group; and Neil let his former friend Bryan Mills accompany on the bass.

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Let’s come back to the record: so, it includes an unreleased track for that time: ‘The Dogs And The Horses’. The song was recorded in September 1994 while Neil Hannon spent a couple of weeks in New-York City with producer Andy Chase, as Keith Cullen was a mutual friend of them. Neil Hannon spent most of his time composing and as Andy had his own studio, they recorded this early version of the song. Andy was also close to Les Inrockuptibles and so the song was subsequently released with this subscriber-only compilation given with the issue 60 of the magazine, in November 1994. It’s this very version that was re-edited (with a better mastering) as a B-side on the single Becoming More Like Alfie, what weakens the interest of this compilation.

Unfortunately, things didn’t went as expected afterwards: Neil froze on the lyrics of his album and didn’t manage to finish it. He was even thinking of stopping his carrier. It’s only some time in 1995, during an interview with Björk, set up one more time by Les Inrockuptibles, that she knew to give him faith again and enabled him to find his way. Long recording sessions followed which allowed, thanks to the success of Edwyn Collins’ Gorgeous George, a new recording in Abbey Road of ‘The Dogs And The Horses’ with a big orchestra worthy of Scott Walker.

So, it had to take one year to see the next sign of life with the release of ‘Songs Of Love’ (which was already known as being the theme music of Father Ted) on a Setanta U.S. sampler before the release of the Casanova album, from where The Divine Comedy find success, but this is another story…