Pop: Riffs

The First and Latest Records Bought by Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon
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The Independent Culture
First record Vienna, Ultravox

It's unusual that my first record isn't dire. Having said that, the second record was "Rat Rapping" by Roland Rat! It's a pseudo-classical, Euro- style record, with the big orchestra, the crazy Chopin piano riffs and an electrified violin - which was all the rage in the Eighties. Ultravox weren't very hip at the time, but I didn't understand them so I thought they must be hip. I was trying to prove I was cool to my older brothers, who were always trying to outdo each other with the most obscure record they could find. I was physically scared by music that didn't make sense; I remember hearing a modern English record and having to leave the room. The video began a trend for black-and-white film, atmospherically shot in European cities. I liked the big white horse, and Midge Ure's sideburns were obviously a formative influence. I think it's bizarrely relevant to what I have become. My musical taste has developed strangely over the years, through a big pop faze in my early teens, then graduating to stadium acts such as U2 and Peter Gabriel and then finally REM and the indie bands of the late Eighties. I can see that I was trying to find music that really excited me, and finally I ran out. I had to start making music.

Last record

Walks Like a Panther All Seeing Eye

It's fabulous and wonderful and just brilliant. It's in a similar vein to the Propellerhead's recent hit "History Repeating Itself" with Shirley Bassey; it has an old Sixties crooner, the words are by Jarvis Cocker and it's a big beat kind of thing. Fabulous. It is a very strange and laudable idea that creates an eerie atmosphere. It is an impressive cross- pollination of ideas. The lyrics are fabulous, full of one-liners such as the chorus: "fly like an eagle, walk like a panther". And it's just so wonderfully cheesy that it ought to be ridiculous, but it's not. It has something which makes you want to strut your stuff and excited me thoroughly. The mix suits my totally eclectic taste.

Divine Comedy's `National Express' is out now on Setanta

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