The Observer: The Duckworth Lewis Method
A 2009 review of the debut Duckworth Lewis Method album from The Observer.
Above Average Whites Band
Pop review: The Duckworth Lewis Method, The Duckworth Lewis Method
4 Out Of 5 Stars
There has never been a whole album dedicated to cricket for the same reason there has never been a whole album dedicated to utility bills or Anchor butter: choose a motif so essentially everyday, stretch it over a dozen tracks, and you risk producing tiresome parody.
But Neil Hannon, in his daytime guise as frontman of the Divine Comedy, never fears musicalising the mundane (1998’s National Express was about coaches, 1999’s The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count dealt with hayfever) and - coinciding with the Ashes - dares to dedicate a whole album to the sport in collaboration with Pugwash’s Thomas Walsh. Together they are the Duckworth Lewis Method, a term borrowed from an obscure cricketing equation that determines the winner of a match interrupted by rain.
Synth-heavy opener The Coin Toss establishes a tone that, for the most part, endures throughout: bouncy piano-led chamber pop and frequent spoken-word interludes abetting a gentlemanly jauntiness. Jiggery Pokery is a retelling of Shane Warne’s famous first bowl in the 1993 Ashes in the manner of Gilbert and Sullivan; Test Match Special a singalong pleaser about the satisfaction of watching the game on telly. Does cricket tire as a theme? Actually, no, and the least successful track, The Sweet Spot, is the one that strays furthest from the crease.
Of the handful of songs previously written about cricket, Hannon and Walsh have said none truly captures the sport. It prompted an internet kerfuffle but the claim was accurate, and has been corrected by Gentlemen & Players, their irresistible trundle through the sport’s history. It is, for my money, the best song about cricket yet made. Played, boys, oh well played.
The Observer - Tom Lamont