The Divine Comedy is a band from Northern Ireland with a revolving door of a lineup, but strongly fronted by Neil Hannon (above). The reason I am presenting some classic tracks from Hannon’s genius band is that The Divine Comedy are planning to release a new album in June. The untitled album seems to be flying under the radar, despite The Divine Comedy’s past successes with albums such as 1996’s Casanova. Casanova is probably one of my all time favorite albums, relying on Hannon’s genius orchestral mindset and witty lyrics. A year later, Hannon released the aptly titled A Short Album About Love on Valentine’s Day. Although it sounds like it was recorded at a top notch production studio, it was actually recorded all at a sound check. After two more albums, their most recent effort was 2004’s Absent Friends.
The two songs I chose are perfect representations of Hannon and The Divine Comedy. ‘Our Mutual Friend’, off of 2004’s Absent Friends,Â is an epic story-like sort of song, with frantic and emotional strings all over the place. “No matter how I try,” Hannon kicks the song off, “I just can’t get her out of my mind.” Hannon is a romanticist at heart, sketching vocal comparisons to Morrissey. The song, as I said, is a story-type epicÂ with an ending I don’t want to spoil for you. Let’s just say that Hannon isn’t one for happy endings in this song.Â ‘If…’ is another absolute gem from Hannon. This song is also more lyrical based, though it does have nice instrumentation. When A Short Album About Love was released in 1997 on Valentine’s Day, I doubt many people could resist such lines as, “If your name was Jack, I’d change mine to Jill for you.” He slides from cleverly romantic to cleverly funny in a heartbeat, with, “If you were a horse, I’d clean the crap out of your stable, and never once complain,” or, “If you were a dog, I’d feed you scraps from off the table, though my wife complains.” Notice a theme yet for this particular song? Hannon’s entire catalog from Casanova onwards is highly recommended. Their new album is set to be released this June.