Neil Hannon has proved over the last decade that pop music can be far more sophisticated and witty than much of the music that fills the charts.
With a fascination for '60 iconoclastic singer/songwriter, Scott Walker, the arrangements of Burt Bacharach and the lyrical intelligence of Morrissey, Hannon's has spent his career striving to create little symphonies for erudite pop fans.
The Divine Comedy began life as a guitar based indie band from Derry who took their primary influence from bands like The Smiths and R.E.M. After recording a number of EPs the band broke up and Hannon moved back to Derry.
Free from the limitations of a rock band, Hannon began to find his real voice and evolve his engaging and intelligent pop style. In 1993, he signed to Setanta Records and released the album, Liberation. Liberation was an instant hit with the critics and Hannon began to build a small cult following around the UK.
The Divine Comedy's second album for Setanta, Promenade furthered his standing with the UK music press and his popularity with indie rock fans. But it was to be the Britpop phenomenon started by Pulp, Oasis and Blur that opened the charts to The Divine Comedy.
The Divine Comedy released their breakthrough album, Casanova in 1996 with hit singles such as "Something for the Weekend", "Becoming More Like Alfie" and "The Frog Princess". The Divine Comedy's next album, A Short Album About Love featured a 30-piece orchestra and some of Hannon's best song writing.
In 1999, The Divine Comedy left Setanta Records for Parlephone and released their big label debut, Regeneration. The Divine Comedy transformed into a seven-piece rock group, recording the album with producer Nigel Godrich.
The Divine Comedy's next album, Absent Friends sees Hannon drop the rock mantle and return to what he does best, urbane and melodic pop music.
Neil Hannon decided to dispense with modern recording techniques for his new album, recorded over two weeks in 2005 with analogue tape and as few microphones as possible.
Victory For The Comic Muse was arranged and produced by Hannon and features many long-standing The Divine Comedy collaborators on what promises to be another collection of sophisticated pop tunes.