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@GerateWohl,

I think that Mike Batt is a certifiable musical genius, and a very underrated writer, although I'm not sure if music will ever forgive him for "discovering" Kate Melua ;)

If you want to add a great dollop of cheese, to your life, then listen to his greatest musical creation: The Wombles.

 

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Now that I know there's another Neil Hannon fan on the board, @Tom Guernsey we have to share our favorites.  Bang Goes the Knighthood is probably my favorite album.  I think the second Duckworth Lewis Method album is super underrated and essentially perfect for what it is (coming from someone who couldn't care less about cricket).

 

One of my favorite deep cut tunes is "The Plough."  The outrageously dramatic arrangement is so much fun.  His wry narrative-based lyrics coupled with the immaculate pop-classical arrangements make his songs just so irresistible.

 

 

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On 30/09/2021 at 8:34 PM, Disco Stu said:

Now that I know there's another Neil Hannon fan on the board, @Tom Guernsey we have to share our favorites.  Bang Goes the Knighthood is probably my favorite album.  I think the second Duckworth Lewis Method album is super underrated and essentially perfect for what it is (coming from someone who couldn't care less about cricket).

 

One of my favorite deep cut tunes is "The Plough."  The outrageously dramatic arrangement is so much fun.  His wry narrative-based lyrics coupled with the immaculate pop-classical arrangements make his songs just so irresistible.

 

 

Glad to find another Divine Comedian (I'm not sure that's the official term... but think it works!). I've thought about this since I read your message and honestly I don't think I could pick one! I was going to say Absent Friends, which has some of my favourite tracks (the titular opener, Charmed Life, Billy Bird, Our Mutual Friend) but the slower ones do less for me. From the fan pages I follow, Promenade seems to be the standard answer and there's pretty much not a weak link on the album and it's perhaps his most effective album as a complete work. Definitely love Knighthood; Down in the Street Below is amazing. I'm actually rather partial to Victory for the Comic Muse. Some people complain that it's not very focussed with less of a theme running through it, but I pretty much love every track on the album and the cover of Party Fears Two is awesome. However, if I had to pick one... A Short Album About Love. Just a perfect half hour, some of his best songs (In Pursuit of Happiness and I'm All You Need are particular favourites) and the more spontaneous, less produced recording with the Brunel Ensemble is terrific. And yeah, I love both the Duckworth Lewis albums (and I know next to zero about cricket...).

 

Have you ever tried My Life Story? They're like a chintzy, more boisterous version of TDC... but some great tunes and plenty of arch lyrics. You might find them a bit too OTT, but I think there's a few songs that any TDC fan would probably like. 

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9 hours ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Glad to find another Divine Comedian (I'm not sure that's the official term... but think it works!). I've thought about this since I read your message and honestly I don't think I could pick one! I was going to say Absent Friends, which has some of my favourite tracks (the titular opener, Charmed Life, Billy Bird, Our Mutual Friend) but the slower ones do less for me. From the fan pages I follow, Promenade seems to be the standard answer and there's pretty much not a weak link on the album and it's perhaps his most effective album as a complete work. Definitely love Knighthood; Down in the Street Below is amazing. I'm actually rather partial to Victory for the Comic Muse. Some people complain that it's not very focussed with less of a theme running through it, but I pretty much love every track on the album and the cover of Party Fears Two is awesome. However, if I had to pick one... A Short Album About Love. Just a perfect half hour, some of his best songs (In Pursuit of Happiness and I'm All You Need are particular favourites) and the more spontaneous, less produced recording with the Brunel Ensemble is terrific. And yeah, I love both the Duckworth Lewis albums (and I know next to zero about cricket...).

 

Have you ever tried My Life Story? They're like a chintzy, more boisterous version of TDC... but some great tunes and plenty of arch lyrics. You might find them a bit too OTT, but I think there's a few songs that any TDC fan would probably like. 

Gave Victory for the Comic Muse a listen and yeah I think it’s one of my favourites. Love it!

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Victory for the Comic Muse has actually the best set of B sides.

But after all I would probably say, Foreverland is my favourite TDC album. Great lyrics and overall Neil's most mature arrangements. And the Deluxe Version had a bonus CD with the chamber song cycle "In May". Great release.

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37 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

Victory for the Comic Muse has actually the best set of B sides.

But after all I would probably say, Foreverland is my favourite TDC album. Great lyrics and overall Neil's most mature arrangements. And the Deluxe Version had a bonus CD with the chamber song cycle "In May". Great release.

Oh yeah the Victory B sides are great. Births and deaths and marriages, and don’t blame the young are particularly great. Foreverland is pretty great but I dunno it feels a bit more slight somehow. Plus other people is so frustrating as it sounds like the start of a great song but the humorous point when he gives up just feels like a disappointment rather than a good joke.

 

Quite enjoying Office Politics but after all the excitement of it being a “double” album I can’t help but wonder if some of the tracks might have been better b sides after all (Philip and Steve furniture removal and psychological evaluation are kinda fun but don’t add much). It’s also a bit too dour in the second half after a more lively first half it kinda feels quite slow towards the end, lovely though the songs are. 

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9 hours ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Quite enjoying Office Politics but after all the excitement of it being a “double” album I can’t help but wonder if some of the tracks might have been better b sides after all (Philip and Steve furniture removal and psychological evaluation are kinda fun but don’t add much). It’s also a bit too dour in the second half after a more lively first half it kinda feels quite slow towards the end, lovely though the songs are. 

Office Politics grew on me. But still struggle with the electronic stuff. But "You'll never Work in this Town Again" is so great. 

Do you, by the way, own that superbox"Love, Cupid and Psyche"?

There Neil Hannon wrote wonderful liner notes for each album. It's really a pleasure reading them.

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10 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

Office Politics grew on me. But still struggle with the electronic stuff. But "You'll never Work in this Town Again" is so great. 

Agreed and that is a great song. Just a bit of a shame that it would perhaps have been better as a typical 11/12 track album with some of the electronic stuff left for B sides. Conversely, some of the Victory for the Comic Muse B Sides are easily good enough to go on the album and, given its slightly eclectic mix, would probably have worked quite well.

 

11 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

Do you, by the way, own that superbox"Love, Cupid and Psyche"?

There Neil Hannon wrote wonderful liner notes for each album. It's really a pleasure reading them.

I do indeed but haven't actually explored it in as much detail as I should but a good reminder to do so! Also have the new "best of" on order for when it's released next spring. Funnily enough, I can remember exactly when I discovered TDC which was buying A Secret History at Luton Airport on my way to visit a friend in Edinburgh. I don't recall what compelled me to buy it but I'm very glad I did! Funnily enough, it was around the time just after Regeneration and I'd only just bought all of their albums to date when Neil announced the split... was a bit of a blow, but then Absent Friends came out and all was well again!

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7 hours ago, GerateWohl said:

Another great thing about Office Politics were the piano demos of Neil Hannon's musical "Swallows and Amazons". That made this the double album I longed for.

That was a nice addition, although very disappointing that it's never had a cast recording given that I think it's toured quite a bit and has been fairly popular. Surely it's not a vast expense to record from the mixing desk a few nights and prepare a live album?! But glad to have the demos at least. 

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I tend to prefer his 2000s-2010s albums to his more traditionally canonized 90s albums.  I'd probably rank every album from 2004 to present above the albums that came before.  But of course I like them all!

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22 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I tend to prefer his 2000s-2010s albums to his more traditionally canonized 90s albums.  I'd probably rank every album from 2004 to present above the albums that came before.  But of course I like them all!

I can connect to that, even though I would count Regeneration into the best albums. Somehow this album gave me what I missed in the Radiohead albums after The Bends. Besides the fact that it contains great TDC songs.

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16 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

I can connect to that, even though I would count Regeneration into the best albums. Somehow this album gave me what I missed in the Radiohead albums after The Bends. Besides the fact that it contains great TDC songs.

 

Regeneration is super interesting (and good), but to me from Absent Friends on he just seemed way more relaxed and comfortable being himself and his music was the better for it.

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I agree that from Absent Friends on the arrangements had a quality they didn't have before. I find, compared to Absent Friends Casanova or A Short Album about Love sound quite rough, especially when it comes to using and orchestra.

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Interesting comments about the pre and post Regeneration divide! Like me, I think Neil is probably better suited to being a little more middle aged than an indie youth (despite Indie Disco!) hence his later albums are more comfortable. Regeneration is definitely a bit of an outlier as a TDC album, but it's got plenty of great songs even if the arrangements are a little different. In some ways, it probably counts as the most polished and well produced TDC album but it kinda misses the point of what TDC is about.

16 hours ago, GerateWohl said:

I agree that from Absent Friends on the arrangements had a quality they didn't have before. I find, compared to Absent Friends Casanova or A Short Album about Love sound quite rough, especially when it comes to using and orchestra.

I don't think I'd consider either of those albums rough but I guess Absent Friends is more clean with greater clarity in the arrangements. Having said that, I do find that the brass on a lot of TDC albums are a bit thin at times. They don't cut through as much as I'd like. I don't know if it's the performance, arrangements or mixing, but I do occasionally wish they had a bit more punch to them.

 

I don't know if any of you are familiar with My Life Story, as previously mentioned (and I think most TDC fans might find them a bit raucous at times so I'm not trying to convert anyone!) but the brass on their albums is much more punchy and exciting. Admittedly that suits the songs a bit better, but I don't think TDC would lose any refinement if he went a bit more all out for a big orchestral sound once in a while. Duke Special (who are great too, they were the warm-up for TDC at one concert and I've been a fan ever since) did an album with the BBC Belfast Concert Orchestra (I think) and it was great hearing the songs with a full orchestra. I'm amazed Neil has never tried to do something like that, he has the cache and enough fans I would think.

 

One final recommendation... very obscure, but this guy called Simon Warner wrote exactly one album, Waiting Rooms, a massive orchestral pop album from the 90s. It's on Spotify. Again, less refined than Neil but some cracking songs in there. It's rumoured he wrote an entire second album that never saw the light of day, but for a one album wonder, it's a wonderful album. Boom!

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Strongest brass efforts of Divine Comedy are for me "National Express", "More Like Alfie" and "To the Rescue".

But overall I think, Neil Hannon is more the string type than the brass type. :)

 

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51 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

Strongest brass efforts of Divine Comedy are for me "National Express", "More Like Alfie" and "To the Rescue".

But overall I think, Neil Hannon is more the string type than the brass type. :)

 

The brass in In Pursuit of Happiness and Something for the Weekend is pretty great too. You might be right that he's more a strings guy but it would still be nice to hear that brass more assertively where it does appear.

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I dunno, I think the TDC brass sound you usually hear is in line with Hannon's "tasteful light touch" approach to orchestration in general (I speak mostly of the last 15 years or so of course).  I'd wager that Hannon would consider Bacharach a huge influence on his arrangement style.

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5 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I dunno, I think the TDC brass sound you usually hear is in line with Hannon's "tasteful light touch" approach to orchestration in general (I speak mostly of the last 15 years or so of course).  I'd wager that Hannon would consider Bacharach a huge influence on his arrangement style.

I get that and most of the time it works but I think there's a few songs where the brass is highlighted could benefit from a slightly more assertive sound. I don't think he's totally averse to being a bit less tasteful from time to time ;-)

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25 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I'd wager that Hannon would consider Bacharach a huge influence on his arrangement style.

At least he covered Bacharach at his Short Album about Love concert.

But he also mentioned Scott Walker as a big influence.

 

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On 17/09/2021 at 11:53 AM, Disco Stu said:
On 17/09/2021 at 11:50 AM, Naïve Old Fart said:

Hey @Disco Stu, have seen the Dan, yet?

Was it bon marche, as far as you could tell? :)

 

The concert's over a month away!  October 23rd in Richmond.

 

 

BTW @Naïve Old Fart sadly the concert has been postponed to next July.  Steely Dan didn't even cancel the whole tour, they're still playing a lot of the dates, they only cancelled shows in certain cities/states.

 

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I think Richard has once again left the community, Disco. 

 

 

Anyway ... Tears For Fears is back and they have announced a new studio album.

 

 

 

 

About the album: https://superdeluxeedition.com/news/tears-for-fears-announce-a-new-studio-album-the-tipping-point/

 

 

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54 minutes ago, AC1 said:

I think Richard has once again left the community, Disco. 

 

 

Anyway ... Tears For Fears is back and they have announced a new studio album.

 

About the album: https://superdeluxeedition.com/news/tears-for-fears-announce-a-new-studio-album-the-tipping-point/

I hope, this time they are breaking with the tradition, that the singles are the highlights of the album, because this song is terribly boring.

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I agree, it doesn't bode well for the new album. It feels like a song you add when you don't have enough songs to make an album.

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I only have their album with symphonic orchestra. Only played it a couple of times. Today it must be worth hundreds. I mean, it's vinyl, right?!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Every time I hear a mix of “Let It Be” that doesn’t have the guitar solo heard on the original single mix (which I first heard on “1” of course) it just sounds so wrong that I immediately switch track.

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This was actually the best scene in the "Yesterday" movie, where this guy wakes up from coma and is the only one on earth remembering all the Beatles songs.

 

Whoever tried to play a self written song at a family occasion knows what he is going through.

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That movie was interesting but ultimately less than the sum of its parts

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18 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Well, this was written by The Beatles!

Even worse then.

 

By the way, I found it nice, when John Williams said at the Berlin concert, that he was told that the Harry Potter books were in Germany as popular as everywhere else and that they are probably the most successful British export since the Beatles. I thought, he might be right.

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By the way, any Throwing Muses / Kristin Hersh fans around here? Like the new Muses album quite a lot.

Not as good as Limbo or The Real Ramona but still good.

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I mean, the good thing about the new ABBA stuff is, that it fits musically well with their old songs. But 50 years ago none of these songs would have been a single. Probably the B-side of the B-side.

And they do not exactly start again where they ended with The Visitors. There they really moved ahead musically. Now they are kind of back to square one, doing stuff like when they started with Ring Ring.

 

But anyway. It is great that they have fun making music again. 

What I don't like is this showing just the picrues of them being young, working with avatars.

I would like to see the old grey haired people just like they are making their music. 

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1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I didn't like the two first singles either. This one sounds too much like a Swedish dance band, which isn't exactly a good thing...

 

While I did like the first two much better than this, I do agree that this sounds like a dance band tune. So as Geratewohl alludes to, they're going more back to basics than building on the wonderful direction they took with their last album. I think I'll have to adjust my expectations in that this is NOT going to be a VISITORS, VOL. 2-type album.

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