6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Bang Goes The Knighthood (Audio CD)
Resolutely unfashionable and impossible to categorise, this is another superb Divine Comedy album. There are no radical departures from previous albums and the usual Divine Comedy touchstones and influences are all here (Brel by way Of Scott Walker, Francoise Hardy type pop, gentle orchestrations, delicate piano ballads). Divine Comedy albums have always benefitted from superb orchestration, from Joby Talbot on earlier albums to Andrew Skeet on this album.
Lyrically, as per previous albums, there is a mixture of pathos and humour. The title track seems to concern maybe a politician or other careerist professional whose life is so pointless they take secret harbour in being dominated or humiliated sexually. Neil Hannon pulls his usual trick of not condemning the protagonist whilst cataloguing their weakness. The Complete Banker, as the title would suggest, though does give Neil's ire a good workout whilst the Lost Art Of Conversation manages to namecheck both Capability Brown and Frank Lampard.
When A Man Cries is the most affecting ballad here. It's followed by the most throway song Can You Stand On One Leg which begins with a piano riff that seems awfully reminiscent of the Carpenters Close To You. Album closer I Like is short, sweet and catchy.
Whilst overall there isn't the relatively focused sound of Regeneration or quite the adventure of say Fin De Siecle or Absent Friends this is yet another solid showing. (And the Duckworth Lewis Method album was pretty stong as well)
Neil Hannon is such an enduring songwriter that he can write these reflective and humorous songs without sounding trite or, heaven help us, quirky. He can even make a song such as At the Indie Disco seem as self conscious and awkward musically as the indie disco participants revealed in the lyrics.