Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Duckworth Lewis Method - Sticky Wickets


The Duckworth Lewis Method, aka Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Thomas Walsh (Pugwash), and named after the mathematical system for calculating a target cricket score after a match is disrupted - usually by the weather, return with a second album of cricket-themed songs. This time round, they have proved that this clever, insightful, project is more than just a novelty act for a select group of purists who understand cricket's unique and baffling 'language'.

Where the eponymous début was a tentative low-key introduction, Sticky Wickets is a triumphant celebration. The title track is deliciously tongue-in-cheek, before the attention-grabbing Boom Boom Afridi (a tribute to the Pakistan legend), to the Henry Blofeld infused irony of It's Just Not Cricket. 

The musical variety brings in influences from Steely Dan to ELO with some wonderful emotive moments. The Umpire is especially stirring, before the mid-tempo Third Man - beautifully summing up cricket's worst fielding position. Out In The Middle is equally good, before the superb electronic Line And Length, filled with unique and beguiling cricketing language.

Stephen Fry narrates the oddity Judd's Paradox and closer Nudging And Nurdling has a host of 'celebrities' repeating the humorous phrase throughout. Only The Laughing Cavaliers drags the album down late-on, back to the world of novelty. 

So The DLM are back with a well-judged concept album and a good balance between sporting cliché and genuine acute observations - one that cricket fans, and those with no interest whatsoever, will enjoy equally.
-- CS

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