Release Date: Jun 7, 2019
Record label: Divine Comedy Records
Neil Hannon opens his 12th Divine Comedy effort with the bustling "Queuejumper," a wry takedown of serial line cutters ("Red lights don't apply to me") that feels like an ancillary story in the "National Express" universe. Office Politics' titular cut sets the tone for what follows, leaning hard into satire and dialing back on the chamber pop of recent outings in favor of a more electronics-forward approach. While Hannon's bourgeois rapping can be a tad divisive, he remains a compelling raconteur, spinning yarns both lurid and lovely, like a Dickensian mash-up of Gilbert O'Sullivan, Oscar Wilde, and Luke Haines -- this is a man who co-fronts a group (the Duckworth Lewis Method) devoted entirely to the sport of cricket.
Neil Hannon got a synth for Christmas and he's enjoying his new toy on this electro-tinged latest offering…although probably a bit more than the listener is on track 'The Synthesiser Service Centre Super Summer Sale', which almost sounds like a Kraftwerk skit by Flight of the Conchords. Elsewhere the electronics are reined in, typically manifesting as a fat synth bass set to funky Blaxploitation jams and dance floor disco - not things typically associated with The Divine Comedy, but a welcome addition to their oeuvre. You'll also find orchestral arrangements more characteristic of Hannon, the master of melody and wordplay delivering his observational vignettes with a sense of theatre, raised eyebrow and knowing wink.