The Divine Comedy: Office Politics review – Catchy, poppy tunes with a contagious sense of fun

Neil Hannon’s 12th album laughs in the face of categorisation

Office Politics
    
Artist: The Divine Comedy
Genre: Pop
Label: Divine Comedy Records

You may have pegged The Divine Comedy as “chamber pop”, but Neil Hannon’s 12th album laughs in the face of categorisation. In the Northern Irish songwriter’s own words, these are the “weird” songs left over from writing sessions predating 2016’s Foreverland. For these tracks, he broke out his vintage synths and indulged in the musical loves of his youth: everything from Pet Shop Boys (the electronic ping of the title track) to XTC (rambunctious lead single Queuejumper) to the synthy throb of A Feather in Your Cap feature here.

Absolutely Obsolete and Infernal Machines drive one of the album’s lyrical themes of humans being incapacitated by technology, while Hannon’s wry humour surfaces throughout, particularly on Philip and Steve’s Furniture Removal company and disco-funk homage The Life and Soul of the Party.

Fans of the band’s more traditional fare, meanwhile, will be sated by the theatrical sweep of Opportunity Knox and Dark Days are Here Again, while I’m a Stranger Here could sit on Nino Rota’s Godfather soundtrack.

A thoroughly satisfying, eclectic album that embodies everything a pop record should: catchy tunes and a contagious sense of fun.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times