Muso’s Guide: Sticky Wickets Review
Rob Crozier of the Muso's Guide reviews the new Duckworth Lewis Method album "Sticky Wickets"
With Ashes fever due to hit the sports pages this week, an album all about cricket seems perfectly timed. As with all of life’s best ideas the concept was devised in a pub. Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh have a love of the summer game, and being talented musicians, it didn’t take long for an idea to develop. This is their second album; their self-titled debut received high praise with one of its tracks receiving a nomination for an Ivor Novello award.
However it’s not just an album for cricket geeks; even those with no interest in the game will find it a cheeky, fun-filled romp. Tracks such as ‘Out in the Middle’ have an obvious cricketing theme, yet the lyric are easily transferable. For the cricket nerds there are tracks such as ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ – a song about the crazy Pakistani cricketer who can’t help trying to slog every ball – which provides warmth with a wonderful sense of ‘in the know’ humour.
This theme is continued with many famous cricketing voices and lovers of the game such as Stephen Fry, who recites a poem on ‘Judd’s Paradox.’ Daniel Radcliffe gets involved on the track ‘Third Man’, which tells the lonely tale of a fielder who’s down on his luck. It’s a kind of cricketing blues for all those frustrated players and watchers of the game, and it’s wonderful stuff. Other, less-known legends (to those outside of the cricketing world) who appear on the album are commentating legends Henry ‘Blowers’ Blofeld and David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd.
The group openly admit that due to the success of the first album this new work has allowed them to enter into cricket grounds for free and get to meet all of their cricketing heroes. For the listener we are wonderfully warmed by tales of the cricketing world. The music is excellently constructed and the lyrical structure creates a beautiful sense of analogies, with a play on words style. This is best illustrated with the ‘it’s not just cricket’ tales of modern day injustices: ‘All we’re really saying is it doesn’t really feel/ Like we’re only playing on a level playing field/it’s not right, it’s not cricket’.
The album continues with ‘Mystery Man’ which bounces along as it explains bowler terms. It’s a funky education of the inswinger, doosra, leg break and bouncer. A Hammond organ-led track about the variety of cricketing bowling styles is not the most obvious subject material but it’s probably unique.
More cricketing education comes with the theme of ’Line and Length’, yet this time the style is an 1980s synth gloomy pop akin to The Human League as the band add female vocals to explain about the corridor uncertainly (another cricketing term).
This is an obvious fun-filled album for cricket lovers; but with Ashes fever exploding into the lives of many this year Sticky Wickets may yet prove to be the perfect sound track to this cricketing summer
Muso's Guide - Rob Crozier