Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Location: Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland
|Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 4:41 pm Post subject: HMV review of Absent Friends - very nice indeed
|From the HMV website:
Absent friends are often thought of with warm affection when you’re at a loose end, reminiscing about the ‘good old days’, and yearning to re-create an idealised utopia that never really existed. Listening to the new album by the Divine Comedy (‘Absent Friends’) has a similar effect. From the opening shuffle of the title track you are washed on a wave of nostalgia back to the heyday of Britpop when milkmen whistled ‘Wonderwall’, guitar bands littered Top Of The Pops and the Labour Party still had principles. Warm, happy times and the Divine Comedy were right at the centre of it.
Of course, it wasn’t all like that – Menswear, My Life Story and Montrose Avenue sullied the good reputation that Blur and Pulp had worked hard to create for British indie, East 17 beat Oasis to the Xmas No1 spot and Britain was still soaked by incessant rain. The Divine Comedy, however, were always great.
The good news is that ‘Absent Friends’ still contains all the elements that made The Divine Comedy such a vital component to one of Britain’s most successful music scenes. Lyrically magnificent, ‘Absent Friends’ tells the tales of everyday people and their dealings with everyday life. As frontman Neil Hannon explains: “most of the songs use stories and characters as a framework for the loose theme of coming, going and not being quite sure where you want to be”.
From the lush, string laden pop of single ‘Come Home Billy Bird’ through to the quirky banjo-tinged ‘My Imaginary Friend’ to the brilliantly titled ‘The Happy Goth’ this is the perfect history lesson for those that weren’t around to appreciate Hannon’s remarkable band the first time. For those that were, this serves as a timely reminder of why Cool-Britannia became the place to make music in the mid-90s.
‘Absent Friends’ is a reunion that doesn’t disappoint, where the long-forgotten buddy has all the sparkle, wit and intelligence that made you friends in the first place. A reunion where you forget the years that have passed and slip, comfortably, back into the old routines – laughing, smiling, promising to, “not leave it so long next time”. Welcome back Mr Hannon, you haven’t changed a bit.
“All told, a classy record prompting laughter and rumination.” Mojo ****