Verdict: Father Ted composer in another guise
The amusing Divine Comedy - with Neil Hannon as the sole constant the past two decades - effect a kind of elegantly literary and often droll, social commentary style, which often comes with orchestration, or sounds like it has stepped out of a cabaret or music hall.
They require, and reward, careful attention because the details are in Hannon's frequently satirical lyrics. Here, on The Complete Banker the central character suggests the current recession could be a blessing, "we can build a much bigger bubble next time". And At the Indie Disco he takes a sympathetic look at uncertain teenagers in a club which has a Morrissey poster on the wall "and then we hit the floor for Tainted Love".
The title track - a well-respected man frequenting S&M sessions - finds Hannon playing cabaret-noir piano; on Have You Ever Been in Love you could imagine Noel Coward doing a soft-shoe shuffle; and on The Lost Art of Conversation he offers starting points like The English Patient or Joan of Arc.
It isn't all cool whimsy: When a Man Cries ("he cries alone and just for a moment he's back at home, cradled in his mother's arms") is aching and empathetic.
The Divine Comedy make music for and about adult concerns, but sometimes find the child - silliness or innocence - inside.
-TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz