Neil Hannon's tenth full-length album under the Divine Comedy banner finds the jovial tunesmith expounding on the elegant, aristocratic chamber pop that has become his forte since the project’s inception over two decades ago. The lighter, more orchestral tone that began with 2004’s glorious Absent Friends is in full effect on Bang Goes the Knighthood, a breezy 12-song concoction of witticisms and laments populated with the usual assortment of hopeless romantics, ballers, and gadflys and clueless upper-class youth. Hannon’s fetish for Scott Walker/Burt Bacharach/Oscar Wilde-isms comes full circle on the theatrical opener, “Down in the Streets Below”; the jaunty “Neapolitan Girl” skips effortlessly through the city on a foundation of Serge Gainsbourg strings; and “The Lost Art of Conversation” celebrates the great orators of politics, philosophy, and literature with one of the more effortless piano-driven Beatlesque melodies that the artist has crafted to date. Not very powerful stuff, but Hannon's built a career on being the tipsy and outgoing though secretly lonesome partygoer on the veranda with the best jokes, and while the whole affair can feel a bit slight, it’s certainly never dull. Cheers.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger