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Buy Regeneration

The Divine Comedy
Regeneration
label: toshi
released: 03.01
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
buy it: cdnow

Have They Reached Paradise?
by: peter naldrett

The secrets of what made The Divine Comedy's unique slant on pop 'n' rock so successful are now well known: Neil Hannon's suits, a wicked perception of a catchy tune and lyrics so sharp you could cut your ears on them.

It was an amazing combination that led to the storming success of amusing, story-telling tracks such as "Something For The Weekend" and "National Express." And yet with Regeneration, their first album since their "best of"compilation, the band have managed to reinvent themselves ever-so slightly; a bit of a regeneration, if you will.

The divine humour on the new album is more downbeat, introverted and dark than they have previously introduced to us, taking a look at childhood, religion and the passing of time. Familiar melancholy themes, to be sure, but the treatment given over to them on Regeneration is typically tremendous.

The thing that makes The Divine Comedy so good is the lyrical abilty that charms out such lines as "The cars in the churchyard are shiny and German/ Completely at odds with the theme of the sermon." When you add to this Hannon's vocals (at times incredibly unique and yet versatile enough to echo The Crash Test Dummies) and a new direction in their music that sends them towards Radiohead's OK Computer days, the refined ingredients are very, very tasty. And so we have the masterpieces of "Bad Ambassador," "Note To Self" and "Mastermind," as well as the single potential of "Perfect Lovesong," "Regeneration" and "Love What You Do."

As an album, it has all you need... and then some. This is clearly the album of the year so far, even if it may only hold the title for a week before The Manic Street Preachers restate their authority with Know Your Enemy.

If you liked Regeneration...