THE Duckworth Lewis Method, named after a formula for calculating target scores in cricket (thanks, Wikipedia), can label themselves “the world’s greatest cricket pop combo” confident in the knowledge that they are top in a field of one.
However, the reason for their success is more likely to be the presence of Neil Hannon, aka The Divine Comedy, in their line-up, alongside fellow batsman Thomas Walsh of the lesser known Pugwash. To date, their partnership has yielded two albums infusing their respective tastes in jaunty, urbane tunesmithery and 70s-influenced power pop with cricketing allusions, as on set-opener Sticky Wickets. A couple of numbers – the Pussy Riot-referencing It’s Just Not Cricket and The Umpire’s salute to the art of arbitration – addressed the wider world through the prism of cricket culture, while a knowledge of the arcane intricacies of the sport was an advantage in understanding Jiggery Pokery’s recounting of the notorious Gatting ball.
But you only really needed ears to appreciate the wealth of melodic vibrancy on show, from the psychedelic ragga Boom Boom Afridi through the dreamy harmonics of Out in the Middle and Gentlemen and Players, electro funk of Line and Length and glam stomp of The Sweet Spot to posh pub singalong The Laughing Cavaliers.
Not even a brief umbrella-twirling interlude where imaginary rain stopped play, the deliberately banal Nudging and Nurdling nor an under-the-weather Hannon could lower their batting average.