The Divine Comedy - Foreverland

THE wonderful thing about The Divine Comedy's latest album is how out-of-sync it is with the current music scene.

While most bands tend to follow trends and of-the-moment genres like indie pop and synth rock, Neil Hannon's Northern Ireland band are firmly doing things on their own terms.

Written, arranged and produced by Hannon, who at times has been the only permanent member in the group, Foreverland proves how comfortable the musician is in his own skin.

The charming and happily peculiar record could not be more idiosyncratic.

From the moment you press play to the final track, you basically go on a 41-minute patchwork journey through music and stories.

Sometimes it sounds like a soundtrack to a heroic adventure film or a swashbuckling pirate tale.

On other songs the album sounds like a salute to wartime singalongs, big band anthems and medieval banquets.

Some tracks are big and booming, others are stripped back and this collection of music is complemented with a full range of instrumentation from horns and strings to a hint of Spanish guitar.

Essentially, Hannon simply seems to want to make his fans smile and dance.

Foreverland will not be for everyone but there is something simple, pleasant and disarmingly honest about this record and that is not to be sniffed at in an age of cynicism.

- Foreverland is out on Friday. The Divine Comedy have also announced a 2017 tour. They play at the Albert Hall in Manchester on February 25.