The Duckworth Lewis Method
Not quite sure why there has been a stupidly long hiatus herein, but rest assured I’ve been to loads of gigs and bought piles of music, none of which I’m going to review here. Instead I’m going to address a significant BBO musical lacuna – namely the lack of discussion of the song-writing genius of Mr. Neil Hannon. However, his normal outfit of The Divine Comedy will have to wait as Mr. Hannon has joined forces with Thomas Walsh of Pugwash to form The Duckworth Lewis Method and usher a long-needed (well, I think so) cricket concept/themed album into the world.
Let’s get something straight first off – I bloody love cricket. I didn’t realise just how much I did until I became moist about the eyes at the sight of Flintoff kneeling to celebrate his fifth wicket at Lord’s on Monday: I think the messianic pose, looking like he was about to ascend to the great pavilion in the sky, had something to do with it. Yes, it can be cloyingingly posh and endless anecdotes about the amount of turn garnered from the pitch at Edgbaston in ‘52 can grate in rain breaks, but the sheer unpredictability of the game, ranging from being pleasantly soporific to ball crunchingly exciting, strategically fascinating to frankly dull, has always harvested my attention.
So when told of the news, by me colleague, that Neil Hannon was to do a cricket album I became unbearably euphoric. And for the most part this sense of delight has continued after repeated listens.
As would be expected the wit that has enlightened some of Divine Comedy’s most memorable moments is present here, especially on the Gatting-bating ‘Jiggery Pokery’. Yet Mr. Hannon’s other exemplary talent, beautiful and moving tenderness is also on show: taking the nightwatchman strategy and making it into a melancholic ode to giving and loyalty literally bowled me over (sorry, got this far without punning). The other half of the duo, Mr. Walsh, reveals an almost equal ability to craft handsome tunes, particularly on the sun-burnt nostalgia of ‘Flatten the Hay’.
Keener readers will have noticed that above there was a degree of hesitancy to my overall consideration of the album. This is mainly because the duo only just maintain the concept over the 12 tracks and there are some – such as the glitter stomp of ‘The Sweet Spot’- that just fall short.
Yes, a bit of cricket knowledge is useful to get some of the references and gags, but you can get away with very little and still revel in the loveliness on show.
And anyone that can get the word ‘panglossian’ (which, yes, I had to look up) into a song deserves my praise.
With requisite apparel, open the little wooden gate and stroll, with confidence of runs ahead, down here to buy it.