A few years ago a girlfriend idly threatened to leave me if my conversation topic didn’t switch from cricket to something “a little more relevant”. When later I excitedly explained that a new album about the subject matter was about to be released she exclaimed “are you even aware of how ridiculous you sound”? The idle threat to leave was not so idle and on the release of the second Duckworth Lewis Method album (Sticky Wickets) I am indeed quite free to discuss the up-coming Ashes series and the delightful 2013 album release on a whim.
But I digress … this is an album review and not an insight into the torrid, if not occasionally amusing, life of a music journalist.
Duckworth Lewis Methods second album “Sticky Wickets” has no particular genre; it is what is commonly known in the business as a concept album. The only consistent aspect to the album is that it’s about cricket. Most people may stop reading now but I urge you to continue. The Duckworth Lewis Method are made up of Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy) and Thomas Walsh (Pugwash) and this album is the follow up to the bands unique and extremely entertaining 2009 self titled release.
There literally is something for everyone on here (if you ignore the subject matter and concentrate solely on the music). “Line and Length” could have quite easily have been a Artist Formerly Known as Prince’s “Batman” sound track while the excellent “Third Man” is quite simply ELO re-incarnated.
There are a couple of tracks that don’t work. “The Laughing Cavaliers” had the opposite effect on me and “The Umpire” just seems out of character compared to the rest of the material.
“Out in the Middle” is the stand-out song on the album though. It sounds like a 70’s country tune (John Denver always pops into my head) and is lyrically brilliant…
“You can have a suit from Saville Row
You can have a yacht down in Monaco
But have you got what you need to go out in the middle?”
Fans of the Divine Comedy can’t go wrong here, also given the subject matter and it’s clever release date (a couple of weeks before the first ashes test) this album should sell well. It’s not a classic but is thoroughly entertaining.
As a footnote to this review I have to mention the American tourist who sat next to me in a bar last year. The cricket was on the TV and he tapped me on the shoulder … “Jeeez son this is one long game of baseball”. Cricket … it’s clearly not for everyone.