There are just some things that you can’t imagine working. Despite a longtime love of the work of Neil Hannon, him creating an album based around cricket seemed like one of those mistakes – one imagined forced gags galore over a forced musical soundtrack. Boy, was I glad how wrong I was. Yes, it IS an album about cricket but it doesn’t hit you over the head with the concept and musically it is as strong as the best of Hannon’s past work, from the groove of ‘The Age Of Revolution’ to ‘The Sweet Spot’ which is the song that the solo Jarvis Cocker has been trying to write over his last two albums.
‘The Coin Toss’ opens the album in a very English fashion, evoking the best work of The Kinks in the sixties and this same spirit returns with ‘Jiggery Pokery’, which seems straight out of the Neil Innes songbook, which is a compliment indeed. The mood changes with ‘The Nightwatchman’, a lovely ballad that could have sat comfortably on ‘A Short Album About Love’ and it’s followed by the early Floyd kink of ‘Flatten The Hay’, again showing the variety on display here, the song itself about a childhood love of playing cricket during the school holidays, a straightfaced salute to youth, it’s another highpoint. By the next track ‘Test Match Special’, that innocent youngster has grown but his ultimate freedom still lies in the game, but now watching it on the TV replaces the field frolics.
Soon it is the end of the album, or in this case ‘The End Of The Over’ and you’ll be pressing play to instantly enter Hannon’s world again. The sun may not be shining outside and I don’t give a fuck about the Ashes, but you cant help but be charmed by The Duckworth Lewis Method, an album truly worthy of the Divine Comedy moniker, despite,er, not using it.