Record Collector Magazine: Charmed Life

Feb, 2022

4 Star Review

The Divine Comedy - Charmed Life: The Best Of ****
Divine Comedy Records DCRL 118 (2CD/3CD, 2LP)

Indie crooner's finest collected.

A judicious 23 years after his last best of, Neil Hannon's 24-track career sweep testifies generously to his lush orch-pop evolution.

With his 90s songs of love and lust dutifully included, and Regeneration's minor career blip not unduly ignored ('Perfect Lovesong' charms), Hannon's 21st century contributions to the croon-song frontline brim with ever-increasing grace and range. 'Our Mutual Friend' and 'A Lady Of A Certain Age' are peerless studies in sumptuous story-song, 'To The Rescue' and 'Have You Ever Been In Love' twinkling declarations of loved-up bliss. 'Norman And Norma' and 'You'll Never Work In This Town Again', meanwhile, suggest middle-aged befuddlement suits his observational skills nicely.

Reflective new track 'The Best Mistakes' and a CD of playful bonus cuts furnish further evidence of this maverick one-off's impeccably preserved core attributes: wit, melodic wiles and even a little wisdom.

Kevin Harley, Record Collector Magazine, February 2022