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4.6 out of 5 stars94
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 16 July 2009
I came to this album as a sceptic; I love Neil Hannon, but it would be fair to say that I'm not the biggest cricket fan in the world. Somehow though this blend of cricket pop is so masterfully crafted that you need not be a fan, nor actually know anything about cricket. With the help of Thomas Walsh (of Pugwash), Hannon has created an album of songs that are full of wit and feel-good melodies. There are tales of the Ashes, accounts of the beginnings of the 'gentleman's game' and even an appearance from a streaker in 'Test Match Special'.
In short, it's brilliant. Stand out tracks are the Eastern-tinged 'Age of Revolution' (about 20/20), 'Meeting Mr. Miandad', and the hilarious 'Jiggery Pokery', complete with its oompah beat and a climactic cry of 'I hate Shane Warne!'. It is an album that is quintessentially English and all the more enchanting for it. Who says cricket can't be fun?
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on 16 June 2010
It's all been said before - this is brilliant. I heard it when it came out and for some reason didn't buy it. Now that I have I can't prise it off the CD player. The best concept album since the last best concept album .... by a mile.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2009
Musically this album is fairly simple but what a delight it is nonetheless. Of course it helps to know a little about cricket and its recent and past history if you are to fully enjoy the songs but I defy even the most bitter cricketing widow not to appreciate the foot-tapping quality of many tunes. I drive around with this running in my car and it cheers me up on a rainy day. The stand out songs are easily agreed to be Miandad and Jiggery Pokery but it is all good stuff.
A clever concept and one that I suspect could be applied to similar effect with other themes.
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on 30 March 2013
Don't be put off by the fact that the subject matter of this whole album is cricket. This is a classic pop album for those that like their music to be tuneful, well crafted, quirky & witty. A joy.
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on 4 July 2009
This is really a surprise - what started off as a niche-sounding side project of Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Thomas Walsh (Pugwash) has resulted in a proper gem of an album. Catchy, upbeat, happy, funny, nostalgic, mellow - and great, great tunes. It really does conjure up images and memories of lazy, hazy summer days. And if you think that the cricket theme will be overbearing or excluding, don't worry, it isn't - this collection of songs is far more universal than that.

The immediate standout tracks are "The Age of Revolution", "Gentlemen and Players", "Jiggery Pokery", "Meeting Mr Miandad" (which will be in your head for ages afterwards), "Flatten the Hay".

Treat yourself to this album - it'll be the perfect companion during the summer months. And with its carefree tone it's a great antidote to all the angst-ridden music that so many bands pump out.
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on 28 April 2010
Another superb collection of humourous, thought provoking and melodic songs which get better every time I listen to them.

In my view this is an absolutely essential purchase.
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on 24 July 2011
I bought this on the back of hearing The Sweet Spot and I am so happy that I did. Although it is expensive, I love to buy cd's when I like a single track. This has lead to varying results, some duffers that were a waste of money but some absolute rays of sunshine which illuminate my life. Examples: King Creosote, Ed Harcourt, Wallis Bird, Mark Mulcahy, Ron Sexsmith and Duke Special. This is close to being the best, although King Creosote's Bombshell knocked Van Morrison's Astral Weeks off my fav album topspot after 20 years! It is original, bright, tuneful and beautiful. It is so creative and full of variety. I never heard of Thomas Walsh before but he has a lovely voice. Neil Hannon I know and admire but I did not know he was brave and skilled enough in his craft to create this type of concept album. Can you do it again boys?
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on 29 August 2009
Don't be put off by the idea of a cricket concept album. This album is a real grower. Every member of our family has a favourite track. I particularly love 'Flatten the Hay' which evokes long summer evenings on holiday that can only be filled with play. There's lots of influences not least of which, is an ELO "Out of the Blue" kind of production that just takes you somewhere else.
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VINE VOICEon 4 August 2009
Neil Hannon is, I believe, one of the most under-rated people in modern music. I'd recommend all of his Divine Comedy albums and his various collaborations with artists as diverse as Tom Jones and Yann Tiersen.

It has been an eternity since the last Divine Comedy album, which I will continue to await impatiently, so I was thrilled to learn that an album from a side-project was coming out. Then I heard it was about cricket.....

Funnily enough, it never even caused a flicker of concern for me. I knew Neil would deliver - though I was unfamiliar with his collaborator Thomas Walsh. I'm also a bit of a closet cricket fan so I was intrigued and rushed out to buy it as soon as I had enough pocket money!

It is a blooming marvellous album! Witty, whimsical and touching in equal measure. Some songs stick in the memory better than others but it's fair to say that there is no duds on here.

ELO, early Scott Walker and - obviously - Divine Comedy fans will find plenty to enjoy here. The music is well produced and the lyrics are clever and amusing and it all combines to make an unashamedly enjoyable listen.

Stand out tracks for me would have to be `Jiggery Pokery', `Mason on the Boundary', `Meeting Mr Miandad' and `Age of Revolution' but I'd gladly just listen to the whole thing over and over again (pun intended).

The big question, I suppose, is whether a taste for cricket is necessary to enjoy the album. I would say definitely not. Though some of the lyrics may pass non-cricket fans by, the music and the delivery are more than enough to get an avid hater of the game smiling and their feet tapping.

I just hope they release Jiggery Pokery as a single - then we can start the campaign to get it to number one - and force Radio 1 to play it!!
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on 1 January 2014
An album about Cricket! Who cares you might think, why make an album about such a boring subject? I thought along similar lines when I first heard about it. However, reviews at the time spoke about the brilliance of the music and lyrics and how you don't need to be a cricket fan to enjoy the album and I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. One of the guys behind the idea being none other than Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy fame. I adore The Divine Comedy so decided to take a chance and rely on the fact that Mister Hannon had nover let me down...and am pleased to say that his track record stands! I loved this album from the first listen and my cricket knowledge and enjoyment amount to..well bugger all! The songs are so catchy and well written you find yourself singing along to lyrics about a subject you know nothing about. I cannot recommend this album enough, it has rapidly become a favourite of mine

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