The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon has always had a knack for characterisation in his songs. From the mournful laments of “A Lady Of A Certain Age” on Victory For The Comic Muse to the life-affirming contentment of “The Happy Goth” on Absent Friends, Hannon has an ability to bring characters and emotions to life that’s pretty much unparalleled.
With his eleventh album the orchestral pop musician is reigniting the everyday affection that comes once you’ve settled down into a happily ever after. Foreverland is a venture through the mundane, romanticised along intricate strings and gliding brass.
Not one to shy away from grandeur, Hannon presents this concept with a regal grace. Several years in the making, the album is a tapestry woven from heartfelt adoration and historical influences.
Lead single “Catherine The Great” is an ode of adoration brought to life through historical characterisation. bubbling duet between Hannon and long-term partner Cathy Davey, “Funny Peculiar” is so sweet it’s almost saccharine, whilst “To The Rescue” is a blissful album highlight, a rising wave sweeping the listener towards sheer fulfilment.
“Napoleon Complex” and “How Can You Leave Me On My Own?” demonstrate Hannon at his most addictively poppy, inescapable hooks embedding their way into instant sing alongs making even the most average instances sound exciting. Let’s face it, who else could make “I drink too many cups of tea and eat too many biscuits” into a rallying cry?
The essence of these songs is exactly what the essence of The Divine Comedy has always been. Expanded, with more intricately woven textures, Foreverland is an ode to everything that lasts: from historical characters to our own enduring emotions, the record celebrates the importance of importance on every level.