Guess who got a synth for Christmas…

Neil Hannon got a synth for Christmas and he’s enjoying his new toy on this electro-tinged latest offering…although probably a bit more than the listener is on track ‘The Synthesiser Service Centre Super Summer Sale’, which almost sounds like a Kraftwerk skit by Flight of the Conchords.

Elsewhere the electronics are reined in, typically manifesting as a fat synth bass set to funky Blaxploitation jams and dance floor disco – not things typically associated with The Divine Comedy, but a welcome addition to their oeuvre.

You’ll also find orchestral arrangements more characteristic of Hannon, the master of melody and wordplay delivering his observational vignettes with a sense of theatre, raised eyebrow and knowing wink.

With plenty to digest, there’s no lack of ideas, if maybe a lack of focus. Stripping this back to a leaner, focussed synth set might have injected a bit more punch. That said, ‘Office Politics’ finds the underrated genius as acerbic and creatively inspired as ever.

7/10

Words: Felix Rowe

Dig it? Dig deeper: Ben Folds, Stornoway, Belle and Sebastian

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