The Divine Comedy – Office Politics – Released Friday 7th June 2019
After the success of 2016s “Foreverland” (which went Top 10) the new album “Office Policics” is hotly anticipated.
You know the score by now, Neil Hannon writes witty songs with richly drawn characters and situations drawn from everyday life to insanely catchy melodic tunes.
It’s bound to be good, so you might as well just go out and buy it now!
Actually, it’s not out until Friday, so whilst you pre-order it, lets take a look…
It’s a 16 track double “concept” album loosely tied around office life. In less capable hands that would sound pretty boring, but you know this is going to be a bit special.
Track 1: Queuejumper
When you see a band at a festival and you only know one of their songs, and they start their set with that song, you know it’s worth sticking around. Likewise, when an album kicks off with the lead single there’s a good chance it’s going to be consistently good.
The opening track / lead single tells the tale of someone with an overly high opinion of themself, who doesn’t care about anybody else so long as they get their own way, “I jumped the queue because I’m better than you”.
Anybody who has worked in a large office can probably think of a colleague or former colleague this song could be about. I’m glad I’m not like that, btw did I mention I got this album a week before you have a chance to listen to it? 😉 erm…
Track 2: Office Politics
The title track starts with an early electronic sound, a bit like early pong machines, and builds into Innervisions era Stevie Wonder-esque funkiness, as Neil runs through typical office caricatures. “Zero hours / maximum pressure / you know what they say / about business and pleasure”.
Track 3: Norman and Norma
“They dreamed of Majorca / but couldn’t afford to go on Normans salary / So they went to Croma / Caught Double-Pneumonia … ” You could probably guess this was a Divine Comedy song just from that line! Brilliant!
The tale of a retired couple who’s kids are grown up, not quite sure what to do with their lives, reminiscing of their younger days.
Track 4: Absolutely Obsolete
The tune to this one could very easily have been The Blockheads, which is no bad thing in my book. Chris Difford from Squeeze lends vocals to this upbeat tune about redundancy.
Track 5: Infernal Machines
Squelchy dirty-electro, reminiscent of Marc Bolan, or Strict Machine by Goldfrapp. One to sing next time your printer jams!
Track 6: You’ll Never Work In This Town Again
Makes me think of Mr Scruff, the way he mixes Jazz, Funk and Spaghetti Western sounds.
Track 7: Psychological Evaluation
A synthetic voice asks the questions, Neil answers them. You really need to hear it for yourself!
Track 8: The Synthesiser Service Centre Super Summer Sale
If you think the title sounds a bit weird, just wait till you hear the track! Neil geeks out over synths, and it’s epic (but may take a couple of listens!)
Track 9: The Life And Soul Of The Party
Back in much more familiar Divine Comedy territory here, and an instantly recognisable office character, who comes across as life and soul of the party, but as the last line of the song goes “I’m all alone in here”. Quite a danceable tune this one.
Track 10: A Feather In Your Cap
After the positively funky previous track comes this more reflective ballad about the emotional repercussions after a one night stand with an office colleague. Not that I’d know anything about that kind of thing, practically a saint me 😉
Track 11: I’m a Stranger Here
A keyboard lead ballad with quite a French melodic sound to it, about getting older and no longer recognising the world.
Track 12: Dark Days Are Here Again
The antithesis of “Happy Days are Here Again”. A gloomy melodic french style film-noir tune complete with choir, the subject matter of which could well have been inspired by the current political situation.
Track 13: Philip and Steve’s Furniture Removal Company
The main character is writing a sitcom based on a removal company in 1960s New York, and this is the annoyingly catchy theme tune. Barmy as a box of frogs, but strangely enjoyable.
Not sure how this one fits into the Office theme, but perhaps the dreamer who is going to leave the mundane office behind and write a big hit, or something like that!
Track 14: ‘Opportunity’ Knox
More funny word play with a Kinks vibe around it, about somebody who’s gone to extreme lengths to get a promotion.
Track 15: After The Lord Mayor’s Show
Another unmistakably Divine Comedy tune, about life not living up to expectations.
Track 16: When The Working Day Is Done
The album finishes with a slow building epic tune of bitter-sweet optimism, reminding me a little of “Windmills of the Mind”.
The album is a corker! Dare I say, his best yet? Pre-order it now, you won’t regret it!
“Office Politics” is released on Friday 7th June 2019.