The Divine Comedy – Live at Summer Sundae 2007 – Recorded August 10, 2007 – BBC Radio –
The Divine Comedy in concert this week. Recorded by The BBC on August 10, 2007 at the Summer Sundae Festival in Leicester by the ever-present BBC.
The Divine Comedy are a chamber pop band from Northern Ireland formed in 1989 and fronted by Neil Hannon. Hannon has been the only constant member of the group, playing, in some instances, all of the non-orchestral instrumentation except drums. To date, twelve studio albums have been released under the Divine Comedy name. Between 1996 and 1999, the band released nine singles that made the UK Top 40, including the top-ten hit, “National Express”.
Neil Hannon has been the only ever-present member of the band, being its founder in 1989 when he was joined by John McCullagh and Kevin Traynor. Their first album, the heavily R.E.M.-influenced Fanfare for the Comic Muse, enjoyed little success and was deleted. A couple of equally unsuccessful EPs – Timewatch (1991) and Europop (1992) – followed, with newly recruited member John Allen handling lead vocals on some tracks. After the commercial failure of the Europop EP, this line-up soon fell apart.
Hannon, however, was not deterred in his efforts and entered the studio again in March 1993, teaming up with co-producer/drummer Darren Allison, for the recording of Liberation. Featuring a fairly diverse musical outlook that goes from the tongue-in-cheek synth pop of ‘Europop’ (nearly unrecognisable from the previously released version) to the classical stylings of ‘Timewatching’, it is also characterised by a plethora of literary references: ‘Bernice Bobs Her Hair’ recalls a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald; ‘Three Sisters’ draws upon the play by Anton Chekhov; and ‘Lucy’ is essentially three William Wordsworth poems abridged to music. This led to a degree of critical acclaim, but commercial success still proved elusive.
Hannon’s ninth album with the Divine Comedy, Victory for the Comic Muse, was released in June 2006. The bulk of the record was recorded over two weeks, much of it live rather than multi-tracked, hence a more spontaneous sound, and features appearances from Travis bass player Dougie Payne.
Neil Hannon also provided vocals for songs on the soundtrack for the film of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy released in 2005, working with Joby Talbot, the composer for the film and former Divine Comedy band member. This sci-fi connection continued in late 2006, when he contributed vocals to two tracks – “Song For Ten” and “Love Don’t Roam” – on the Doctor Who: Original Television Soundtrack album. In an interview with Bullz-Eye.com, Hannon explained that, “literally, I was asked to add my vocal by the composer of the songs, who writes for the show. And I didn’t feel that I could say no, simply because I spent my childhood watching this program. It would be just plain wrong to not do it.” Hannon also lent his vocals to “Aliens”, the last track on the Irish charity album The Cake Sale in 2006, organized by Brian Crosby of Bell X1 and featuring a variety of mainly Irish musicians.
On 1 April 2019, The Divine Comedy announced a new single “Queuejumper”, first played on BBC 6 Music on 3 April. It was followed by the announcement of Office Politics, the band’s first double album, which was released in June 2019.
Jumping back to 2007, here is their Summer Sundae gig, as recorded on August 10th. I suggest you crank this one up. Just a thought.