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The Duckworth Lewis Method

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Album Review

Apart from the faux-reggae of 10cc's "Dreadlock Holiday," the quintessentially English game of cricket has never really enjoyed the kind of musical tributes afforded to football and rugby. But if anyone was going to attempt to evoke images of tea and cucumber sandwiches, freshly cut grass, and hazy summer afternoons, it would be the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon. No stranger to penning songs about the unlikeliest of subject matters (his previous output has tackled coach travel and losing trivial possessions), the latter-day Noël Coward has teamed up with fellow Irishman Thomas Walsh of Pugwash to record a self-titled concept album about the bat-and-ball game, under the guise of a rather obscure scoring system, the Duckworth Lewis Method. While almost the entirety of its lyrics will be lost on anyone who wasn't glued to the 2009 Ashes tour with which the album's release was perfectly timed (the ELO-esque prog pop of "Meeting Mr Miandad" tells of a road trip to meet a 1970s Pakistani cricket captain), an encyclopedic knowledge of the game isn't necessarily required to enjoy its quaint chamber pop sound. "The Age of Revolution," a diatribe against cricket's modern-day troubles, sees Hannon embrace a newfound funk side with its infectious music hall brass riffs underpinned by squelchy synths, psychedelic guitar solos, and languid grooves; the Mamas and the Papas-style harmonies of "Gentleman and Players," and the jaunty Beach Boys-inspired opener "The Coin Toss" are convincing forays into '60s California sun-soaked pop, while "The Nightwatchman" is an authentic slice of sophisticated retro-soul, complete with sweeping strings, understated jazz piano, and seductive basslines. However, there are occasions when the album sounds like it was far more fun to record than to listen to. "Jiggery Pokery" is a low-rent show tune which sees Brit comedians Phill Jupitus, Alexander Armstrong, and Matt Berry continually shout "baboon" against a backdrop which sounds suspiciously like Nellie the Elephant, the plodding knees-up glam rock of "The Sweet Spot" echoes Status Quo at their most three-chord-like, while "Test Match Special" is a forgettable rose-tinted, pub rock lament to listening to the game on the wireless. But while The Duckworth Lewis Method is sometimes a little too reminiscent of a boys' night out lock-in, it's still an admirably bold attempt to translate Hannon's love of cricket to his day job, which only further cements his country gent reputation. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Responsible for surely the only concept album based around cricket, the Duckworth Lewis Method is the side project of Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon and Pugwash frontman Thomas Walsh. The duo, named after the complicated cricket scoring system, formed in 2008 after Hannon and Walsh met at Father Ted writer Graham Linehan's wedding in Ireland. After Walsh asked Hannon to contribute to a Christmas charity record, the pair discovered a mutual appreciation of ELO and cricket, and decided to combine the...
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The Duckworth Lewis Method, The Duckworth Lewis Method
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: 05 July 2009

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