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Baker's Dozen

Batting Order: Neil Hannon's Favourite Albums
Laurie Tuffrey , July 4th, 2013 08:11

The Divine Comedy man picks out the gems in his record collection following the release of his second album with The Duckworth Lewis Method this week

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Fittingly enough for an album about cricket, the decision to make The Duckworth Lewis Method's new record Sticky Wickets, the follow-up to their self-titled debut from 2009, came about when the band's Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh were on a tea break.

"Well, it's funny because when we made the first one, we didn't really have any plans to make another. In fact, it sounded a bit like a silly idea," says Hannon. "About a year ago, Thomas and I were just sort of having tea, as you do, and we both said the same thing more or less: 'Shall we make another one?' 'Yes, okay.'"

No doubt a good call, too: Sticky Wickets chooses to soundtrack the game with an impressive span of genres, shifting from the sun-dappled guitar-pop of the title track and 'Third Man' to the synth-funk of 'Line And Length' to the lushly-orchestrated torch song 'The Umpire', underlining the inherent pathos of the much-maligned figure. "Yeah, well we get bored easy!" says Hannon, explaining the variety. "Also, on Duckworth Lewis Method albums, we both get to make music that perhaps we wouldn't allow ourselves to have on our own albums. Just because if you're writing about cricket, then there's no rules. We're in a genre of one!"

It also fields a strong team of cricket fan guests, including Stephen Fry, Daniel Radcliffe and Matt Berry, as well as the veteran commentator Henry 'Blowers' Blofeld, delivering a few choice lines ("now, my dear opening man, you must pull yourself together", "calypso collapso!") on 'It's Just Not Cricket'. "He was such a rock & roll star, in his comfortable shoes and cardie. Once he had worked out that we weren't complete homicidal lunatics, he was very into it and did a stream of consciousness of just Bloers-isms!", recalls Hannon.

His Baker's Dozen choices represent a collection of fondly-held records from childhood, some later discoveries and albums whose influence is writ on his own work, from the Scott Walker and Michael Nyman records that leave their imprint on The Divine Comedy to some landmark synth-pop LPs that echoes in Hannon's theme music for The IT Crowd.

As closely as he has listened, though, he's keen not to let of the records lose their mystique: "I don't really like listening to any record often, not since I was a kid do I thought of play things on repeat. I have to admit, I don't listen to an awful lot of records," he explains. "Once I've heard them a few times, I kind of know them so intimately that I can replay them in my head. With a piece like Rite Of Spring, you don't want to downplay its power by over-hearing it."

Sticky Wickets is out now via Divine Comedy Records. The Duckworth Lewis Method play Lord's Cricket Ground, London on Monday 8 July, Nottingham Playhouse on Tuesday 9 July and a longer UK tour in September; for full details and tickets, head to their website. Click on Neil's image below to begin scrolling through his choices


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Jul 4, 2013 12:21pm

One doesn't need to read these features any more because they're all the same.

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O. Tamale
Jul 4, 2013 1:01pm

In reply to :

Why didn't he list Neubaten? Why didn't he list Cannibal Corpse, or the Captain and Tenille? I don't appreciate this ponce having his own tastes, he needs to have my tastes, because then that will make him interesting, and I will want to read about that.
Also, please stop using the letter 'R' in your headlines in the future. I find it distractingly pedantic and obvious.

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Stavros P. Leibowitz
Jul 4, 2013 2:15pm

In reply to :

Yeah, how utterly predictable that an artist should choose 13 of their favourite albums in a feature dedicated to artist choosing their 13 favourite albums. Roll on the day when someone picks just 10 - what a surprise that'll be. Pillock.

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J. Temperance
Jul 4, 2013 2:18pm

In reply to :

Its so boring the way these artists pick albums by Elgar and Tom Lehrer all the time. Stavros P. is right, you are a pillock.

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Nick Jackson
Jul 4, 2013 2:40pm

I'm a huge fan of Neil's work and it's no surprise that we share many favourite records, especially "Dare" which I bought aged 11 in 1981 and have cherished ever since! I'll be checking out the 3 albums I don't own immediately!

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Jul 4, 2013 6:49pm

In reply to :

the last bakers dozen was all like, rock and metal and stuff, the timing of your comment is flabbergasting.

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J Pillbox
Jul 4, 2013 8:08pm

I fucking love this selection from Hannon. So obvious that he hasn't picked anything because it would make him look hip (or left anything out because it wouldn't). Unlike some - Lloyd Cole I love you, but I'm also looking at you right now.

Flesh+Blood, fucking hell! I wore out the tape when I was fifteen and under the impression that Bryan Ferry, through the medium of this album, could teach me all that I needed to know about love, sex and sophistication. In fact this wasn't wrong at the time, since I spent the next several years just wanking. The record is still a perfect thing, though.

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Brian Mahon
Jul 4, 2013 10:10pm

" just kind of happens and it's really exciting, and I don't want to know how it happens, because that would ruin it. The longer you do this job, the more you understand about how things are done. It ruins quite a lot of records!"
Would've put "Bookends"by Simon & Garfunkel

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Jul 5, 2013 10:50am

In reply to J Pillbox:

Mr Pillbox, you are a genius.

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Jul 5, 2013 7:36pm

In reply to :

Well said indeed. Tho, if you're done reading these features (we'll try not to celebrate until after you've moved on) maybe you'll also be done commenting.

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Simon E
Jul 6, 2013 7:57pm

A brilliant selection, on the basis of which I'll buy his new cricketing CD.
One thing - I don't quite get the choice of Scott's Brel covers over his own stuff. Each to their own of course, but given how often NH has spoken of his love for Walker, I'm surprised he didn't go for one of the first 4 solo LPs. I'd have Scott 3 over the Brel covers anyday.
(To avoid abuse - I'm not suggesting the excellent Mr Hannon is wrong because he doesn't agree with me - I just find it an odd choice. But there you go).

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Post-Punk Monk
Jul 12, 2013 11:45am

Ah yes. "Same Old Scene" by Roxy Music. It has the sheen of brilliantly cut glass and the staccato echoplex gives the arrangement a simultaneous push and pull like nothing else I could name. I've never tired of the thrill that song brings. When I first heard the imperial period Scritti singles, four years later, I was reminded of this song, in an obscure way.
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®

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Ashley S
Aug 1, 2013 1:41am

Great read!! Made me happy to hear Neil Tennant is one of Neil's idols, PSB is one of my all-time favourites....although a bit sad that he doesn't think any of the PSB albums as a whole are as good as the singles but I do agree that someone's music loves is personal and everyone is different. thank you Neil :) it's nice to read about some of your influences :)

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