Divine Comedy at the UEA

COLIN WILSON Neil Hannon, who earlier this year returned as The Divine Comedy with their ninth album Victory For The Comic Muse, the follow-up to 2004's Absent Friends, brings his seven-piece band to the UEA, Norwich on Wednesday night.

COLIN WILSON

Neil Hannon, who earlier this year returned as The Divine Comedy with their ninth album Victory For The Comic Muse, the follow-up to 2004's Absent Friends, brings his seven-piece band to the UEA, Norwich on Wednesday night.

The record that truly founded The Divine Comedy's reputation was 1993's Liberation, on which an appropriately unbound-sounding Hannon revealed himself as a startling and precocious talent, swiping cues from Chekhov, Wordsworth and Fitzgerald. The following year's Promenade confirmed that none of this had been a fluke, and 1996's Casanova, an inspired record about love and sex, earned The Divine Comedy a merited dousing of pop stardom, with Something For The Weekend, Becoming More Like Alfie and The Frog Princess all becoming hits.

1998's Fin De Siecle, another tour-de-force, was perhaps overshadowed by the brassy hit single National Express. The album's quieter corners contained some of Hannon's best work yet. The title of Fin De Siecle was also significant, the album marked the end, for the time being, of The Divine Comedy as most of its fans understood it.

A move from the independent label Setanta to Parlophone saw the release of 2001's aptly-named Regeneration an album that was more subtle than some of its predecessors. 2004's album Absent Friends welcomed back the brass and strings, and included some of Hannon's most personal and most realised songs.

The Divine Comedy's latest album Victory For The Comic Muse was released in June. Recorded virtually live in the studio over a period of two weeks in late 2005, modern techniques were set aside in favour of analogue tape and as few microphones as possible. The tour will feature songs from the current album as well as many old favourites.

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Support comes from Belfast-born singer/songwriter Duke Special. Duke Special's world is like no other - a world filled with vaudeville-esque sensibility, sing-a-longs and addictive melodies. Harking back to the pre-rock 'n'roll era with dashes of fairytale, Gershwin and orchestral swing, he has just released his new LP Songs From The Deep Forest through V2 Records. Highlights include the new single Last Night I Nearly Died (But Woke Up Just In Time).

t Doors 7.30pm Tickets at £17.50 in advance are available in Norwich from UEA Union, Waterfront and Soundclash. Credit card bookings 01603 508050 and www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk.

COMPETITION

EDP Event, in association with SJM Concerts, is giving away three pairs of tickets to see The Divine Comedy at the UEA, Norwich on Wednesday night to the first three entries out of the bag who correctly answer the following question.

t Complete the title of the following Divine Comedy song: The Pop Singer's Fear Of The …… …..

Send your answer on a postcard including a daytime telephone number, to arrive no later than Tuesday October 31, to Colin Wilson, EDP/Divine Comedy Competition, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE. Or you can e-mail your answer to colin.wilson@archant.co.uk.

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