Irish Times: CD Of The Week - The Duckworth Lewis Method

June 2009: The Duckworth Lewis Method is CD Of The Week!


Totally Wicket.

This week’s CD of the week


The Duckworth Lewis Method , 1969 Records   ****

We’ve had concept albums about messiahs, aliens and pinball champions, but no rock band has dared to write a concept album about cricket. Until now, that is. Ironically, it has taken a Crumlin lad and a boy from Enniskillen to rise to the intellectual challenge that chould have been met by any number of English stars.

There have been some great pairings in sport and pop music, but the teaming up of Thomas Walsh from Pugwash and Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy is one that will have cricket lovers and pop fans alike salivating with anticipation. The two have been batting around each other for a while now - Hannon guested on a Christmas song Walsh released a couple of years ago - but this is their first full-length collaboration, and what a glorious thing it is, too. Walsh (aka Duckworth) and Hannon (aka Lewis) both share a passion for classic pop and finely crafted melody - add in their other shared passion, for the gentleman’s game, and you have the perfect soundtrack for balmy summer afternoons at Lords.

Released just in time for this year’s Ashes tour, the album displays the duo’s vast knowledge of cricket, but also showcases the diversity and range of their songwriting. From sun-kissed 1960s pop to 1930s music-hall panto, Duckworth and Lewis cover all musical bases (oops, a baseball term just crept in there), all the time keeping their eye firmly on that little leather ball.

The friendly rivalry between Duckworth and Lewis is established with The Coin Toss; The Age of Revolution is a potted history of the renaissance of cricket in the early 20th century, and Gentlemen and Players is a languid paean to cricket’s innate sense of fair play.

The glam stomp of The Sweet Spot , featuring guest vocals from Cathy Davey, throws a bit of a googly - it sounds like it may be about something naughty, but methinks it’s actually a cricket term. No such ambiguity in Jiggery Pokery , a bitter, barrelhouse reminiscence about the notorious Gatting Ball of 1993.

Mason on the Boundary sounds like something Al Stewart would have written if he was a cricket fan, and Meeting Mr Miandad should make Blur ashamed they wasted so much time pretending to be chimney sweeps when they should have been engaging with cricket instead.

The closing song, The End of The Over , brings a Beatles-esque end to the proceedings, the count-in and the final piano chord evoking A Day in the Life - a day on the crease, perhaps. Before you settle down to watch this summer’s Ashes, you should familiarise yourself with The Duckworth Lewis Method - you will be most indubitably bowled over.

Download tracks : The Age of Revolution, Mason on the Boundary, Test Match Special.

The Irish Times - Kevin Courtney