Album: The Duckworth Lewis Method, The Duckworth Lewis Method (1969/DCR)

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The Independent Culture

Named after the fiendishly contrived means of determining winners in limited-over games shortened by rain and bad light, The Duckworth Lewis Method is a concept album about cricket created by the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon and fellow Irish aficionado Thomas Walsh, of the group Pugwash.

It's wonderful from early nets to stumps, a witty, tune-packed delight that hops gaily from style to style to accommodate the different moods: a chortlesome Flanders & Swann-ish recital depicting Mike Gatting's first-ball misery at the devious hand of young Shane Warne ("Jiggery Pokery"); a joyous pop account of the duo's encounter with their hero, "Meeting Mr Miandad"; a wistful tribute to lassitudinous outfielders, "Mason on the Boundary", which manages to employ the coinage "hopelessly panglossian" without shame or superiority; and most infectious of all, an account of the changes wrought by the 20/20 format ("The Age of Revolution"), bearing such barbed observations as "Always denied entry by the English gentry/ Now we're driving Bentleys, playing 20/20", set to a funky groove. With wry intelligence allied to diverse musical imagination, and an obvious affection for their subject, Hannon and Walsh have crafted one of the year's very best albums.

Download this: 'The Age of Revolution', 'Jiggery Pokery', 'Meeting Mr Miandad', 'The Nightwatchman'