1 July 2013

The Divine Comedy - Casanova

This is a blog about being an outsider in a way in many ways.  The Divine Comedy (aka Neil Hannon) is quite possibly the most English Irish man that has ever existed - he is only one monocle away from that smoker’s jacket (and he actually covered a Noel Coward song called "I've Been To An Interesting Party").  The man was an outsider who was shown the inside and decided to take his own route.  He has made a couple of albums about cricket with the Duckworth Lewis Method, has done TV theme tunes for Father Ted & The I.T. Crowd, been covered many times (most notably by Ben Folds) and is quite possibly one of the most underrated musicians’ that has came out of Ireland ever.  How this man took three albums to get any sort of fame (and this is a review of the third album) just baffles me; and why he had a fall from grace with later releases just baffles me.  Anyway, I think it is obvious how this review is going to go already, so let's waste no time and get it on pop pickers.....

In 1996, this was one of those out there releases. It was a left field pop album, with a voice that you can imagine reading the back of a cornflakes packet and making it sound like a personal sonnet to you. The man could honestly make the angels come down from the heavens with his words and pros. Opening with the wonderful "Something For The Weekend", it set the tone and when he starts on "Becoming More Like Alfie" the bar is raised another notch.  Also on this album is the wonderful "Songs of Love" which was used as the theme tune for Father Ted - for people who are not familiar with Father Ted, it is a comedy program about three priest from an island off Ireland and their antics - it was made in the UK and is wonderful - and then there is the jewel in the crown which is "The Frog Princess". This is the song about a negative love which is going nowhere but straight to hell.

The album is a little light on moments of genius, but it is still a show stopper. The sublime "Theme of Casanova" is a delight and "Through A Long Sleepless Night" is a fantastic piece of indie pop.  Now for all the praise I am giving you might think that this is the best album ever, well that is not the case.  As much as I love it, I recognise that it is not for everyone.  It is an album that is very much by its own nature for the fan of little pop stories and the general public will see this as a novelty.  It is not to be looked down up, but whilst it was the album that brought him to the public eye, he has made better since.  Approach if you have an open mind, love big pop music and enjoy the art of the story.  If you’re just in it for shits and giggles, please leave by the 10th floor window.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Here is a live performance of Something For The Weekend from TFI Friday

You can purchase the album from here on Amazon

You can visit the band's website here

You can listen to the album here on Spotify

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