9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
It takes a few listens to fully appreciate, but it's worth it!,
This review is from: Victory for the Comic Muse (Audio CD)
Being a fan of The Divine Comedy since they released Casanova in 1996, I was really looking forward to their latest album. Much like a lot of previous releases by The DC, this album takes a few listens to fully appreciate it. When I first listened to it, I was disappointed with most of the early tracks and didn't listen beyond track 7. However, repeated listens have definitely added a great deal to my enjoyment of this collection. Track-by-track:
1. To Die A Virgin - Amusing lyrics, but the melody doesn't do anything for me. Opinion seems to be very divided on most of the tracks here, this being no exception. It sounds a bit flat to me.
2. Mother Dear - An unusual country track with a catchy melody, but a far too repetitive chorus. Musically it's great, but the constant repetition of "Mother Dear" quickly becomes tiresome.
3. Diva Lady - Not bad, but hardly the strongest of melodies penned by Neil Hannon. Annoyingly it sticks in your head - I'd rather it didn't!
4. A Lady Of A Certain Age - Beautiful melodies, wonderful instrumentation, and moving lyrics. I've always liked Hannon's voice, but this is the kind of track his singing is best suited to. Stunning.
5. The Light Of Day - A bright, upbeat melody, again with some beautiful instrumentation - strings and harpsichord really add to the classical rock style that the DC have always done so well.
6. Threesome - A charming 1 minute piano instrumental that provides a good break in the middle of the album.
7. Party Fears Two - I disagree with an earlier review calling The Plough pompous; if any track sounds pompous, it is this one. I haven't heard the original but the strings are overdone for a riff that isn't all that special. The chorus is better than the verse, but this just sounds out of place here.
8. Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World - This one's quite odd. I didn't expect to like it at all but it really grows on you. Great lyrics, a very enjoyable melody and plenty of decoration around the various melodies. Very well composed indeed.
9. The Plough - As I mentioned earlier, I couldn't disagree more with the notion that this track sounds pompous. It's an absolute masterpiece. A wonderful build-up in each verse and throughout the track. A similar feel to The Certainty of Chance or Freedom Road, this is one of the best tracks I have ever heard from the DC.
10. Count Grassi's Passage Over Piedmont - The opening melody links well from The Plough. Great melodies throughout, an unusual mix of spoken/sung lyrics, not dissimilar to The Booklovers - but much easier to hear more than a few times over. Very special, and unique!
11. Snowball In Negative - Yet again, the orchestral arrangements are superb. Interesting contrast between the vocal sections and the piano solos, showing that Threesome wasn't such an anomaly after all. The ending is a little unexpected and slightly drawn out, but this track wraps up the album well.
Apart from the first few tracks, this is possibly the best DC album I've ever heard. It's right up there with Promenade and Fin De Siecle and is a welcome reminder that Hannon is highly unlikely to lose his touch anytime soon. Beautiful!