Nerd Vice: An Odyssey Through The Gentleman’s Game
CircleGuy reviews the second long player from The Duckworth Lewis Method called "Sticky Wickets"
It is an excellent time to be a cricket fan. With the rain-tarnished Champions Trophy behind us, there is almost a year of the greatest rivalry in sports ahead of us: The Ashes. And to coincide with the beginning of the Ashes, the geniuses Hannon & Walsh-I mean, Duckworth & Lewis- have another instalment in their cricket-pop Odyssey: Sticky Wickets. Sticky Wickets is a follow-up to the pair’s eponymous 2009 album, and it maintains the spirit of that splendid album.
Cricket is a pretty obscure concept to many of you, never mind “cricket-pop.” As mentioned, this group is the brain-child of Thomas Walsh, of Pugwash, and Neil Hannon, of the Divine Comedy. The two bonded over their love of the gentleman’s game, and decided to work together. Then they decided to work together again. Thus is the history of cricket-pop.
A few weeks ago, they released the first single of the album, “It’s Just Not Cricket.” The global debut of this single was on a BBC radio show hosted by Dermot O’Leary. I waded through the entire show in anticipation of the song, and upon it really didn’t gel with me. I became slightly sceptable about the then-upcoming album. It wasn’t until they released the music video on June 17th that I listened to it again…and I listened to it on-repeat for at least 3 hours (a conservative estimate). Faith & excitement restored in the album…until I got it.
Upon its arrival in the post, I immediately threw it the CD player, and yet again, I was left with a feeling of disappointment. Once again, it was a few days until I played it again. And by the grace of W.G, it had a similar effect.
Let me tell you the tale of this article. I began writing this on one of the rare sunny days here in the South of Ireland, the 27th of June, at around 5pm. In an hour, England were to play New Zealand in a T20 match at the Oval. I put “pen to paper” and away I went. As is custom (to me anyway) I played the album as I wrote. I got to the end of the third paragraph, about to replay the album yet again, but decided to watch a bit of the pre-match discussion. When I turned around, I discovered my family had vacated the living room, the match had been called off due to rain, and it was now just after Midnight. And that’s what this album does. It captures you in its beautiful melodies, its enveloping lyrics and refuses to let you go. It disturbs time itself: I was frozen in place (especially by the haunting Judd’s Paradox, featuring Mr. Stephen Fry on vocals), time seemingly stopping while the album repeatedly showed its beauty over and over again, while the world around me moved on as rapidly as Jeff Thomson’s bouncer.
While this album brings me untold amounts of joy, it brings with it a hidden kind of sorrow. As I mentioned above, cricket is unfamiliar to a lot of you, and despite the fact that both this album and its predecessor transcend the sport of cricket, it is likely that this fact will stop a lot of people from buying it. However, even in this cloud of anguish, there is a silver lining. It is because of this arguably small market, it makes this album, in my opinion, one of the highest expression of artistic intention. They made this album not out of a desire to become filthy rich or famous, they do it out of a love of the game. In saying that, they deserve all the fame and riches possible for this truly great album.
The Duckworth Lewis Method is going on tour, starting with a concert in Lord’s Cricket Ground, London on the 8th of July, the Nottingham Playhouse on the 9th and much more. For more information on their gigs, check out their website here
You can pre-order Sticky Wickets, which will be released on the 1st of July, on Amazon now. It is available on CD, Vinyl & for Digital Download.
You can follow the band’s on-going adventures on Twitter, @duckworthlewis, and on their website, http://www.dlmethod.co.uk/
Here is the music video for their single, It’s Just Not Cricket.
As an aside, I formally extend an invitation for the lads to play a game of Taverners Cricket down in Cork at the famous Richard Beamish Ground at any time.
Nerd Vice - CircleGuy