Release Date: Jun 19, 2006
Record label: Parlophone
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Britpop
Neil Hannon's affinity with the Britpop era was sealed when his hit Something for the Weekend provided a title for Denise Van Outen's ghastly TV programme. On the evidence of recent albums, that seems to have depressed Hannon as much as anybody. However, this triumphant comeback sees him rediscovering his old sauce and joie de vivre. The Wildean To Die a Virgin finds him investigating an elder brother's porn collection while awaiting a promised birthday present from his girlfriend: the loss of his virginity.
To say that any Divine Comedy album feels overly calculated is somewhat pointless, given that Neil Hannon's cheeky musical alter ego is a nostalgic figure caught in a 1930s time warp to begin with. It's all about affection, as it were. But Victory for the Comic Muse is almost mathematical in its calculation: open with a jaunty number to get the audience excited; slow it down for four consecutive reflective ballads to suggest maturity; split the album in half with a throwaway piano instrumental like an old movie intermission; inject some life into the proceedings with four sprightly, comic selections; and close with a tearjerker.