The Duckworth Lewis Method
The Duckworth Lewis Method
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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
The Ballsiest Album I've Ever Heard
Leave it to Neil Hannon to think up something as left-field as a cricket concept album, follow through in making it, and pulling it off- with flying colors. Of course, equal praise must go to "Duckworth", aka Neil's other half on this project, Thomas Walsh of the Irish band Pugwash (also wonderful, you should check out their albums, which are on US iTunes). Neil and Thomas wrote and composed this album equally, and although some songs here sound more like one than the other, it is often difficult to tell who was responsible for what. It's a testament to their ease in working together. It is apparent that this album was produced mainly for a laugh. It is not to be taken any more seriously by the listener as it was by those who created it. That does not, however, diminish its brilliance. As a concept album, it's perfectly put together. The first song, The Coin Toss, isn't so great as a song, but it's really just to set the tone of the proceeding 11 tracks on the album, and to introduce its two characters, "Duckworth" and "Lewis". The best thing about the opening song, however, will only hit you at the end of the album, aptly entitled The End of the Over. After the main theme (which is in 6/4 time and in phrases of six) comes to its conclusion, it reprises the theme from the very beginning of Coin Toss, only this time with both Ducky and Lewis singing. For me, the highlights of the album are The Age of Revolution (a funk-rock Bix Beiderbeck mashup that doesn't really remind me of anything else I've ever heard, which is a wonderful thing), Mason on the Boundary (glorious and sunny-sounding, with a fantastic monologue by the Legendary Matt Berry), The Nightwatchman (sexy as hell, and then, unexpectedly, funky as hell), Flatten the Hay (beautiful and idyllic sounding, like late XTC), Test Match Special (It just rocks, and it has trumpets), and The End of the Over (just for being all in sixes. That is dedication to the theme right there). The point of this album may flummox a lot of Americans. But believe me, you don't need to know squat about cricket (I certainly don't!) to enjoy this music. That's one of the great things about it- a cricket fan can smile at the various references and in-jokes, and the non-cricket fan can appreciate the music, and they can both rock out together. It's an inspired, unique, and rather marvellous pop album, which sounds like summer whether you are gearing up for the Ashes series, or just anticipating a new tan.
You've got to give this a listen...seriously
First there were the Beatles, then there was ELO, now there's DLM- it's the long awaited next evolution of music. The music by DLM is AWESOME!!! As a Beatles and Jeff Lynne (ELO co-founder) fan, I was a bit skeptical of DLM at first- I mean really, a next generation ELO sounding band with songs about cricket?!! Don't be fooled; their tunes are awesome- surprisingly rich, catchy and thoughtful. Most of these songs...there's no way you'd know they were about cricket (unless that's your sport). If you appreciate rich, toe tapping musical genius, this is a must have- I'm a convert!!!
Flawless. That's all you need to know. Buy it. Love it.
Years Active: '00s, '10s
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