Let that sink in a moment. Hard to believe it’s been that long since Neil Hannon first put pen to record contract paper and set upon a journey encompassing 12 studio albums, countless live shows and the odd cricket-related side project.
The albums released pre and post “Britpop” (not that they should ever be lumped in with that, despite the celebrity emdorsements!) may stand as their most well-known work to the casual listener, with numerous delightful singles (“Something For The Weekend”, “Becoming More Like Alfie”, “National Express” et al..) but each release in turn always turns up that odd gem just to remind you what a fantastic lyricist Neil is.
The twelve volume CD boxset “Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time – Thirty Years of The Divine Comedy” will bring together all the remastered CD albums and bonus material, as well as new editions of 2016’s “Foreverland” and 2019’s “Office Politics” updated with bonus material and liner notes. It also features “Juveneilia” – a boxset exclusive 2 CD compilation of early material put together by Neil from his personal archive, including recordings stretching back to as early as 1984. It contains the “lost” 1990 album “Fanfare For The Comic Muse” and long out-of-print EPs “Timewatch” and “Europop.”
Each CD release consists of 2 CDs: the original remastered album, with a second CD of B-sides, demos and alternate versions curated by Neil Hannon, much of which has never been heard before. The CD release of “A Short Album About Love” comes with a DVD of “A Short Film About A Short Album About Love” – a previously unreleased 50-minute film of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert at which “Short Album..” was recorded. The CDs come with a booklet of photos, credits and extensive liner notes written by Neil covering the context and inspiration behind the album and its songs.
LP verions will also be released, consisting of the original remastered album, cut at Abbey Road, packaged with a download code for the album and bonus tracks. The LPs are heavyweight black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve accompanied with photos, credits and Neil’s liner notes.
The albums have been remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Frank Arkwright (Blur, The Smiths) while engineer/mixer/producer Guy Massey, whose work on the Beatles Stereo Remasters won him a Grammy Award, oversaw the audio across all releases.
In addition, The Divine Comedy will play 5 nights at London’s Barbican in early September, with another 5 dates later that month at Paris’ Cité de la Musique, reflecting The Divine Comedy’s popularity in France. Each night will see two albums from their back catalogue, performed in full:
2nd September Liberation(1993)/Promenade(1994)
3rd September Casanova(1996)/A Short Album About Love(1997)
4th September Fin de Siècle(1998)/Regeneration(2001)
5th September Absent Friends(2004)/Victory For The Comic Muse(2006)
6th September Bang Goes The Knighthood(2010)/Foreverland(2016)
The same format will be performed from 25th September to 29th inclusive at Cité de la Musique.
London tickets will go on general sale from 10 am Friday, March 13th, Paris from April 27th.
Ticket link: www.thedivinecomedy.com/live
Other outlets are available.