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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bang" Indeed!
I listened to this album through in its entirety three times on the first day I had it. Can't remember the last time I did that. It has a different sound to his last few albums, or indeed, any of his albums (but it probably sounds a bit more like his earlier stuff in that it's more playful, perhaps). It's more poppy than the last few, funnier, and perhaps a bit more...
Published on 29 May 2010 by Good Wolf

versus
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shaken But Not Stirred
Neil Hannon is a clever man. Of this there can be little doubt.
He has been making clever and ofttimes staggeringly good music
for the greater part of two decades after all. I have loved
a good deal of it (what's not to love?!) but something about his
new TDC release 'Bang Goes The Knighthood' leaves me quite cold.

The album is essentially a...
Published on 2 Jun 2010 by The Wolf


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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bang" Indeed!, 29 May 2010
By 
Good Wolf (South West, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
I listened to this album through in its entirety three times on the first day I had it. Can't remember the last time I did that. It has a different sound to his last few albums, or indeed, any of his albums (but it probably sounds a bit more like his earlier stuff in that it's more playful, perhaps). It's more poppy than the last few, funnier, and perhaps a bit more adventurous, which is maybe due to less reliance on an orchestra. And the pictures and stories he manages to paint with his lyrics and his music are as strong here as they've ever been, if not more so. "Down in the Street Below" is simply beautiful. "Neapolitan Girl" is fast and bouncy with a dark undercurrent. "Island Life" is soaring and tranquil. It has a more coherent sound than the last Divine Comedy album, and you get the impression that Neil Hannon is simply happier these days and making the kind of music that's closest to his heart, after some quite sombre albums over the last decade.

There's one bit on the album that's bound to divide opinion, though... you'll know it the second you hear it!

One of the main feelings after listening is that there's certainly nobody else making music like this these days. It sounds entirely different to anything else, so in that respect he's carved a lovely little niche for himself. After all, what other modern artist would create a song that includes the line "Ben's impressed by the buttresses thrust up the chapel nave"? Well done, Mr. H.

I wouldn't pay much attention to the "BBC Review" that Amazon has put up, by the way, which seems to spectacularly miss the point of it all. Indie Disco isn't a "swipe" at anything - it's pretty obviously an affectionate song. It's a shame that someone with a clear dislike of Hannon's quirky style becomes the 'official' voice of Amazon's product page.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long term DC fan, 9 Jun 2010
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
I have been a long term DC fan, and feel compelled to write this as I feel strangely protective of Mr Hannon and his work. Firstly, why is Amazon putting the BBC review so prominently? I agree with a fellow reviewer in that you should ignore it. I have listened to this a number of times already and there is much to enjoy. As ever, he maintains the high standard he has set on previous albums. I personally can think of no one else who consistently displays anywhere near his level of song-writing and lyrical skill. To be honest if he did another concept album about licking postage stamps I would buy it, knowing I would get more out of that album than most others.

As an aside, my wife is Polish and she is a big fan to (they are into intense lyrics) as she says he is one of the few singers whom she can actually understand what he is singing about. That concludes my review, such as it is, as it was always going to be somewhat biased.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Mr Hannon!, 4 Aug 2010
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
It happens every time. I listen to TDC's new album and think, "Oh it isn't as good as... insert name of previous album ..." Then I listen to it again and the songs begin to get under my skin and a week later I am playing the bloody thing to death.

I don't know how you do it Neil but I'm glad you do! :-)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Mind the Critics!, 30 Aug 2010
By 
Secret Scribe (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
Looking at some of these reviews, there's a lot of people who appear to take this musician and his records a little too seriously for their own good. The whole point of the Divine Comedy was about reflecting on the entwined pathos and humour that is life, but not to linger unhealthily to the extent of wallowing in navel-gazing! Sure, the classical arrangements can be complex and are clearly part of what sets Neil Hannon's music apart from the everyday. So are the clever,occasionally linguistically challenging and tongue-twisting lyrics, so much so that Hannon increasingly has a hard time remembering them on the night (witness the recent solo Somerset House concert, which he still managed to sail through, thanks to ad-libbing and terrific rapport with the audience). That's not going to get any easier, but it's his own fault for being drawn to the whimsical and literary...

Because of the aforementioned complexity (particularly evident on earlier albums, where Hannon was honing his craft)it might not occur to some reviewers that on tracks like 'The Complete Banker', he was actually angry and wanted to make a statement as blunt and crass as the behaviour of his lampoon targets - so the music hall crudeness is apposite. While 'At the Indie Disco' was intended as nothing more or less than a fond and simple nostalgia trip for people of a certain age (not an attempt to be snide at anyone). Again, reviewers with a humour bypass are always going to miss the fun and frolic projected by tracks like 'Assume the Perpendicular', 'The Lost Art of Conversation', 'I Like', 'Island Life' and 'Can You Stand Upon One Leg?' (He is allowed a track dedicated to his little daughter, no?!). Equally, it is a rare talent that can match such a jaunty upbeat melody as 'Neapolitan Girl' with such dark humour. But the light gives contrast to the dark, so we can appreciate the more serious songs - compare 'Have You Ever Been in Love?' with 'When a Man Cries'.

I don't think Hannon has pretensions to be Scott Walker or anyone else really, but like other leading songwriters he has the ability to interpret many styles and just wants to be free to evolve his music as he sees fit. There is clearly a possible future in film scoring (anything is possible if you can pull off a co-penned tribute to er, Cricket).

In the meantime, just be happy with a little ripple of humour laced with decent tunes, to accompany these dark times. The world needs more Hannons!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Huzzah! A New Divine Comedy Album!, 28 Jun 2010
By 
Grr "Gumbo" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
A new Divine Comedy release is always somethign to get excited about. Surely Neil Hannon is the most underrated artist about at present? This latest album is not his most immediately accessible offering - indeed, I was quite underwhlemed at first listen but there is much to savour should you persevere.Should you be huge fan of DC and Mr Hannon, this is still utterly essential.

1. Down In the Street Below - Suitably epic sounding opener detailing a mans doubts that his relationship is the right thing. Catchy and grounded in reality. (9)

2. The Complete Banker - yes, it is a bit juvenile but this is sharp, insanely enjoyable and boombastic. A great Broadway sounding tune about the depression. The first one I got stuck in my head (9)

3. Neapolitan Girl - This is what Neil Hannon does better than anyone else, a jaunty, toe tapper with dark, dark lyrics. Quite brilliant (10)

4. Bang Goes the Knighthood - Bit of a let down, an obvious idea given a fairly tame treatment. Still enjoyable but the first ho-hum song. (6)

5. At The Indie Disco - The BBC review that Amazon have, for reasons best known to themselves, listed here would have you beleive that this is a cynical sneer at indie kids out clubbing. I disagree, I think this a spot on and sentimental view of a scene - one that I grew up in and first heard Divine Comedy records at! (9)

6. Have You Ever Been In Love - This is the kind of sweeping, uplifting ballad-ish sort of song that The Divine Comedy do so well. This is great but suffers in comparison to other efforts on earlier albums (8)

7. Assume The Perpindicular - a song about admiring the unusual architecture of National Trust properties. Joyfully daft in the way the National Express was - though not quite hitting those heights. I can think of no other songwriter who could pull this off. (8)

8. The Lost Art Of Conversation - I can't get into this one yet. I recognise its clever and appreciate Tommy Walsh turning up on Backing Vocals. I think it may be a grower but at the momet it is a bit so-so for me. (6)

9. Island Life - I wasn't sold on this to start with but it has grown on me. Divine Comedy meets Harry Belafonte. Sound weird, and is. Give it a few spins though. (8)

10. When A Man Cries - Ok, everyone seems to be saying this song is the masterpiece on the album. Hmmm, I'm in the minority here but I can't agree. I think its a touch mawkish to be honest. It is certainly a well written song and I really don't dislike it at all but it is not my favourite. (7)

11. Can You Stand Upon One Leg - Brilliantly funny on the first listen, less so each time you hear it. Unlike most DC humourous songs this is actually a novelty song. I like it very much but can see this being one that get skipped in future. (6)

10. I Like - I like that this song reminds me about the thing I like in my partner in a brillaint way, all puns intended. (9)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Banana!, 9 Jun 2010
By 
G. J. Conway "gazconway1" (Devon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a wonderful album, full of the sort of jolly yet sad, catchy, kitsch drenched pop songs that you would expect from Neil Hannon.
Really lovely from start to finish and the bonus live disc works so well too!
A fine addition to the The Divine Comedy collection.
Well done Mr Hannon!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SCOTT WALKER, BURT BACHARACH & JEFF LYNNE IN A BAND WITH ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER MAKING THE TEA - WELCOME BACK DC, 1 Jun 2010
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
Bang Goes The Knighthood is Neil Hannon's tenth album trading as the Divine Comedy and the bands first release for over 4 years. Following on from last years excellent top 40 album The Duckworth Lewis Method (with fellow countryman and songsmith Thomas Walsh) this is the Divine Comedy's most accessible and listener friendly release to date.
'At The Indie Disco' is a stripped back and insanely catchy ode to the music of the early 90's, 'I Like' a key changing stomper that has 'hit' written over like no other DC song since 'National Express' and 'The Lost Art Of Conversation' is a tongue twisting, foot tapping and sarcasm laced slice of pure pop.
The quieter and more reflective moments though are always at the heart and soul of Hannon's albums and Bang Goes The Knighthood doesn't dissapoint. 'When A Man Cries' is heartbreaking, 'Have You Ever Been In Love' manages to be both moving and joyful whilst 'Island Life', co sung with Cathy Davey, is simply lovely.
Hannon has definately simplified things this time round and, although the orchestrations and arrangements are still typically DC, the songs are allowed to breath and the excellent songwriting really shines through.
Hannon's skewed take on life, loss and love may not be to everyone's taste but if you've ever wondered what a band featuring Scott Walker, Burt Bacharach and Jeff Lynne would sound like then look no further.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cut above the rest, 2 Sep 2010
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
I bought this a couple of weeks ago and it has just been on holiday with me to the South of France. I listened to it during long car journeys to drown out the kids! It really took me to a different place. It was as fantastic and compelling as ever and the BBC review just could not be further away from the reality.

I've been a DC fan for a long time, I really think there is no-one else like them and Neil is so talented and unusual in his approach. I just love the lyrics and the music - some of the sound effects were so appropriate.

My favourites were Neopolitan Girl, I Like, Down in the Street Below and Bang Goes the Knighthood. I thought I Like sounded genuine, like he had written it about someone he loved and that every single line meant something. I just love DC - it has guts but I accept it's not general stuff like the man from the BBC seems to prefer.

If you love DC you'll adore this. if you have never bought anything by DC before I'm sure you'l be delighted with this purchase and want to get others.

By the way how do I find out about tour dates. I have never managed to see DC live but after this really feel I must make it happen!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten albums in and he's only forty!, 19 Sep 2010
By 
D. Singh-Hulass "Derek22464" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
I don't tend to write reviews for albums that have already been heavily rated and reviewed, I prefer to be a lone voice in the wilderness, a voice of clarity in amongst a mass of incoherent shouting.

That's what's going on in my wibbly-wobbly mind, in reality, everyone is entitled to their musical opinion, whether they're right or not.

The Divine Comedy are unique; they were singular back in 1993 and they still are now. Mainly because they've been going so long but are still under the popular radar, still have a loyal and passionate fanbase and are still primarily the work of just one man.

As others have stated, don't be taken in by the bitter and sour-faced "professional" review at the top, he is just wrong, both about this album in particular and about The Divine Comedy in general.

They have always been a mixture of the melancholic and despairing, the joyful and ridiculous. Far too many musicians take themselves and what they do overwhlemingly seriously, but Neil has always appeared to be more truthful and unafraid to look stupid; he seems to really put the work and his vision above his ego or his sales.

I made an unforced error in listening to the "Regeneration" LP before playing this one - that's a fine album and strong lyrically, but there's no warmth and he sounds alarmingly like Thom Yorke at times.

This is a proper Divine Comedy album. Someone else stated that it was easier to admire than to love, but I disagree, it is easy to love as it is far more immediate and just full of wonderful melodies and arrangements. Neil is also in fine voice again, one of our very best vocalists.

Another reviewer also stated that the "Duckworth Lewis Method" album is similarly poor - again, wrong. You can hear the sheer joy and pleasure of what is being created, even in the sterile atmosphere of a recording studio.

Admittedly, the artwork is awful, but that is my only complaint. Neil Hannon is a national treasure and I simply love "At The Indie Disco" because I was there in the Nineties!

Derek
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent album, 29 July 2010
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This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
Neil Hannon and the Divine Comedy gets better and better. This album is brilliant and doesn't have one dud track on it. I bought 'duckworth lewis' cd at the same time and curiously they complement each other.
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