Essential New Music: The Divine Comedy’s “Foreverland”


Northern Irish musician Neil Hannon has recorded under the name the Divine Comedy since 1990. For most of that time, he’s specialized in foppish orchestral pop filled with intricate melodic details and witty lyrical bon mots. In 2016, he’s practically a walking anachronism. His best-known composition in America is probably the theme song to Brit-com The IT Crowd. Nevertheless, discerning Anglophiles will warm to the charms of the Divine Comedy’s 11th album, Foreverland.

Hannon’s songwriting and arranging acumen is as well-honed as ever on the likes of “Napoleon Complex,” “Catherine The Great” and the ABBA-esque “How Can You Leave Me On My Own.” And this time, he mostly sidesteps the melodrama and smarm that tend to mar his albums. The only thing missing is a song like past triumphs “Your Daddy’s Car” or “A Lady Of A Certain Age,” in which the witticisms cut just a little deeper.

—Michael Pelusi