Fin de Siècle

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jack Rabid
The songs on Fin de Siècle, though pleasant, don't quite scale the heights Neil Hannon has before: nothing is as arresting as A Short Album About Love's "In Pursuit of Happiness," though "Commuter Love," the grandiose, wind-swept "The Certainty of Chance," and especially the rainy-day funeral song "Life on Earth" make attempts, as does the song that jumps out at you the most, in line with Hannon's past work, "Sweden." Its '60s-movie oom-pah pomp and bombast that introduces each verse is fabulous. But otherwise, Hannon's done better. More unfortunate, Jon Jacobs' engineering seems fine, but his mix is convoluted, muted, as if Hannon's wry voice and the various lugubrious ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jack Rabid
The songs on Fin de Siècle, though pleasant, don't quite scale the heights Neil Hannon has before: nothing is as arresting as A Short Album About Love's "In Pursuit of Happiness," though "Commuter Love," the grandiose, wind-swept "The Certainty of Chance," and especially the rainy-day funeral song "Life on Earth" make attempts, as does the song that jumps out at you the most, in line with Hannon's past work, "Sweden." Its '60s-movie oom-pah pomp and bombast that introduces each verse is fabulous. But otherwise, Hannon's done better. More unfortunate, Jon Jacobs' engineering seems fine, but his mix is convoluted, muted, as if Hannon's wry voice and the various lugubrious blends of sounds Jobi Talbot scores -- of woodwinds, brass, strings, guitar, and timpani-like drums -- were all trapped in a sandwich bag, fighting to get out where ears are. Where such mellifluous tones should tickle, tease, dazzle, and sometimes outright startle, outside of those yelping parts of "Sweden," it's all a little muffled. Still, it's hard to stop laughing at Hannon's suit-wearing, minor send-up of the storied English gentleman, like a man who is a playboy jet-setter but also affects uptight, fastidious manners. And there's still much to swing on here. Talbot is a fabulously imaginative arranger -- surely the LP's biggest saving grace -- and Hannon's songs thus seem to spiral toward dramatic conclusion no matter what. Best of all, Fin de Siècle largely diminishes the Scott Walker whispers that have shadowed his every move, if not actually erasing them. In the end, Hannon is the one you want at your party, sitting at an end table, smoking, drinking your most expensive booze, slyly winking at the ladies, and sizing up the crowd like an international spy. Give the man his due, style is his middle name. You can bet he's got unbelievable chat-up lines.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/8/1998
  • Label: SETANTA UK
  • UPC: 017533147324
  • Catalog Number: 57

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Generation Sex (3:31)
  2. 2 Thrillseeker (3:33)
  3. 3 Commuter Love (4:42)
  4. 4 Sweden (3:25)
  5. 5 Eric the Gardener (8:26)
  6. 6 National Express (5:05)
  7. 7 Life on Earth (4:23)
  8. 8 The Certainty of Chance (6:06)
  9. 9 Here Comes the Flood (4:09)
  10. 10 Sunrise (3:17)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Divine Comedy Primary Artist
Matthew Ward Violin
Simon Jones Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet
John Best Tenor (Vocal)
Ian Lawrence Bass (Vocal)
Paul Mason Bass (Vocal)
Nik Turner Tenor (Vocal)
Julia White Soprano (Vocal)
Phillip Robinson Tenor (Vocal)
John Gibbons Bass (Vocal)
Ken Wilson Tenor (Vocal)
Kelly McCusker Violin
Joby Talbot Piano, Conductor, Harpsichord
Betsy Taylor Cello
Robert Riley Viola
Peter Devlin Double Bass
Neil Hannon Guitar, Vocals
Anna Giddey Violin
Ivor Talbot Guitar
John Murphy Viola
Stuart "Pinkie" Bates Organ, Accordion
Miggy Barradas Drums
Dexter Fletcher Narrator
Ian Watson Double Bass
Mary Martin Violin
Bryan Mills Bass
Technical Credits
Jon Jacobs Producer, Engineer
Kevin Westenberg Concept
Adam Brown Recording Assistant
Mitsuo Tate Recording Assistant
Joby Talbot Arranger
Neil Hannon Producer, Concept
Andy Scade Programming, Engineer
Steve Hilton Programming
Crouch End Festival Chorus Contributor
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    Posted November 3, 2008

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