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Bang Goes The Knighthood CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 May 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Divine Comedy Records
  • ASIN: B003ES5A28
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,098 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Tenth studio album by the Northern Irish alternative pop/rock group, featuring the single 'At the Indie Disco'.

BBC Review

Ten albums into a (largely) distinguished career, it might have been hoped that The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon could have resolved the struggle for his soul that has defined and dogged his progress.

Divine Comedy albums are always an arm-wrestle between two incompatible personas. One is the elegant and witty balladeer, a precocious hybrid of Scott Walker and Randy Newman, heard on such commanding cuts as The Dogs & the Horses and Sunrise. The other is the insufferably bumptious japester queasily evocative of Gilbert O'Sullivan, most notably culpable for the enragingly jaunty sing-along National Express (which, rather depressingly, remains The Divine Comedy's biggest hit).

Bang Goes the Knighthood finds Hannon still struggling to accommodate both mutually deleterious instincts. Vexingly, the wrong one gets the upper hand. Too much of this collection represents Hannon at his worst: smug, trivial and infuriatingly self-amused. At the Indie Disco and the title-track are both trite swipes at wretchedly obvious targets (young people are socially awkward and musically unadventurous, we learn, while aristocrats are apparently drawn to risky sexual adventures). And The Complete Banker is actually as cringe-inducingly ham-fisted as its title.

The likeable whimsy of Can You Stand Upon One Leg asks, "Can you write a silly song? It's harder than you think". This may be true, but Hannon's efforts in this direction do little but demonstrate that some challenges are best left unmet. Someone of his vast musical gifts must be able to tell that his best melodies and arrangements invariably accompany his better lyrics: for, as ever, the tunes accompanying those words not written to raise cheap laughs are magnificent.

Have You Ever Been in Love is a joyous descendent of Perfect Lovesong ¬– the glorious highlight of 2001's Regeneration; When a Man Cries may even be Hannon's finest moment yet, a thoughtful evocation of masculine vulnerability. Hannon summons a brooding symphony behind it, illuminated by the tinkling of a music box. It could have come from 1997's A Short Album About Love ¬– which, not coincidentally, remains The Divine Comedy's least amusing and most compelling album. --Andrew Mueller

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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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.
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Format: 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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