In terms of curious niche side projects, Neil Hannon‘s cricketing musical manifesto, The Duckworth Lewis Method, takes some beating. Retaining many of the elaborate and melodic elements of his day job as leader of The Divine Comedy, the group’s charmingly tongue-in-cheek suite of songs was perfect mid-afternoon fare at a point in history when the Ashes series was nail-bitingly balanced at a draw.
With Hannon sedentary behind a keyboard sporting a hat last worn with any semblence of style by umpire Dickie Bird at Edgbaston, his wry band of troubadours deliver orchestral grandeur that lent a complex curate’s egg of a sport the pomp and straight-faced irony normally reserved for a Vegas-set cavalcade of camp.
Songs like “Test Match Special” bristled with cod baroque wit and unfailingly hummable choruses, consumed with gusto by an audience liberally sprinkled with stiff upper lipped-chaps in full cricketing garb, shin pads included. Possibly the most joyously affectionate tribute to idiosyncratic Englishness since The Kinks‘ Village Green Preservation Society.
Want to hear pitch-perfect ruminations on the significance of obscure fielding positions, punctuated by “Shaft”-like wah-wah guitar? Look no further.