The Duckworth Lewis Method was a collaboration between the Divine Comedy honcho Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash where the duo combined their love of the rarely seen bedfellows of cricket and melodic soft rock. Sticky Wickets was their second album of sweetly tuneful cricket-themed musings all of which are better than Howzat by Sherbert.
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2010’s self titled cricket-themed record was a plenty amusing and tuneful sidestep for The Divine Comedy songsmith Neil Hannon (alongside the similarly melodic charms of Pugwash’s Thomas Walsh) but can they repeat the trick on this follow up batch of songs?
I’ve never been a massive fan of cricket, the ball being far too hard for my delicate fingers. As a child I used to try to demand we played with a tennis ball. You don’t have to be a fan of the interminably long drawn-out game to enjoy the music The Duckworth Lewis Method produce.....but it helps.
The title track has the title of, and sounds like, 10CC - one of a slew of 70’s outfits to mention cricket in song (on their vaguely racist ‘Dreadlock Holiday’) alongside, of course, the unforgettable ‘Howzat’ by Sherbert. ‘Its Just Not Cricket’ is a comedy singalong but ‘The Umpire’ has a lovely floating melody which even professional Yorkshireman and octogenarian Dickie Bird could whistle while attempting to recall yet another anecdote to feed to Harry Gration.
Absolutely lovely, and its with songs like these that Duckworth Lewis method transcend the knockabout japes of some of the other tracks. The upbeat songs often recall ELO. Walsh’s songs are perfectly ok but Hannon’s have that touch of class. The instrumental ‘Chin Music’, for example, is not far away from his Father Ted theme while ‘Out in the Middle’ has the sun drenched dusty feel of a 70s ballad by America or The Eagles.
Like the debut there is plenty of filler and there are bits you’ll want to skip over, but the album straddles a nice line between ridiculously unfashionable singalong romps and some really sweet melodic musings.
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