I have @annawaits to thank for this. At the moment concept albums about cricket, even if they are created by the stellar talents of Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash, aren’t too uppermost in my thoughts, so until she tweeted about how much she loved it yesterday I’d completely forgotten it has been released.
I was also a little wary because while I love The Divine Comedy of sweeping orchesteral ballads like this
and the albums Promenade and Casanova I have never got on well with his more jolly pop-oriented fare like National Express.
Anyway, I needn’t have worried. Sure there’s a whiff of Irish Cheddar, and yes at times it does sound like ELO, but this album is really good fun. Who else would write a song about Shane Warne’s first ball in a test match or a pilgrimage to find Javed Miandad (which is my favourite song) and wrap them up in such catchy melodies and glorious harmonies?
I am particualarly impressed by Hannon’s co-conspirator on this, Thomas Walsh of power poppers Pugwash. I really enjoyed his band’s Jollity album, but on this it is clear that he is seriously raised his game (cough). I am not sure how they wrote this, but many of the best songs have Walsh on lead vocals.
How ironic then that an album about the quintessential English past-time has been created by a couple of Irish fellas.
Looking forward to Radiohead’s Gaelic Football themed opus – now that would be something.
Anyway, come on England!