Spotlight On The Reissues: Absent Friends

Nov, 2020

Released 9th October, 2020.

"From writing to arranging to recording, there are so many ways to screw up a record. Absent Friends for me screws up a lot less than most. Perversely though, that doesn’t necessarily make it a better album than the others. You have to take into account the level of difficulty of what you’re attempting, and how much money or time you have at your disposal. I guess I just got lucky on this one."
Neil Hannon, from the Absent Friends liner notes.

'Absent Friends' was first released in 2004. Describing the album, Neil said: "The songs use stories and characters as a framework to pin my ideas on. It's mostly about the eternal battle between the pull of personal freedom and the comfort of domesticity.” The album was recorded by Guy Massey, mixed by Nigel Godrich and features guest appearances by BBC 6 Music DJ Lauren Laverne and French multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen.

“The whole album is rich, beautiful and can make you smile and cry on the turn of a chorus” said Phill Jupitus in the Radio Times, while the Guardian described it as an “ornate gem” and Word magazine said, “it’s Neil Hannon’s best yet.”

Stand out tracks from the album include singles 'Come Home Billy Bird' and 'Absent Friends', as well as live favourites 'Our Mutual Friend' and 'Charmed Life'.

For this reissue 'Absent Friends' has been remastered by Frank Arkwright at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

The CD release consists of 2 discs: the original remastered album, with a second CD of B-sides, demos and alternate versions. This 2CD set comes with a booklet of photos with extensive liner notes written by Neil covering the context and content of each album.

The LP release is the original remastered album, packaged with a download code for 'Absent Friends' and its bonus tracks. Pressed at Optimal on heavyweight black vinyl, this edition is housed in a gatefold sleeve accompanied with photos, credits and Neil's liner notes.

If you buy the LP from our webstore it comes with a pin badge, and don't forget to check out the array of awesome anniversary merch including mugs, t-shirts and tote bags!

We'd love you to share your 'Absent Friends' memories and any band memorabilia from this period. Remember to use #TheDivineComedy30 when you post.

All formats (including digital) out now.