The game of cricket has always been eyed with a degree of antipathy and suspicion by most Irish people, steeped as we are in the blood and thunder of Gaelic games, soccer and rugby. Despite a growing popularity on these shores, it is a sport that is quintessentially English and as such, admitting a fondness for the 'garrison game' is akin to proclaiming you are carrying the Ebola virus in some circles.
The Duckworth Lewis Method are not shy about admitting their love for this most genteel of games - they have now released two albums in praise of a sport that is about as far away from the concept of rock and roll as you can possibly get. Any further away, and you are probably sitting down for a game of Bridge with your elderly aunties, cradling a cup of cocoa and wearing your most comfy slippers.
What a surprise then to hear opening track 'Sticky Wickets' kick in with a riff pilfered straight from the Rolling Stones bag of tricks, and the mouth-watering prospect that Messrs Hannon & Walsh are about to inject a little sex and sizzle into this their second innings. It's a promising start and one that sounds like a true collaborative effort, the product of two accomplished song-writers leaving their respective trademark song-writing styles at the door. Regrettably, from that point onwards, there are very few other songs that sound truly collaborative in nature - it becomes pretty easy to spot the songs written by Walsh as distinct from those penned by Hannon. So we get the jaunty whimsy that Hannon first displayed a flair for during his time with the Divine Comedy on tracks like 'Boom Boom Afridi' and 'The Umpire' while Walsh's devotion to Beatles/ELO classic melodic pop gets an airing on 'Third Man' and 'Out In the Middle'.
Cricketing puns abound; this is Carry On Cricket with song titles like 'Nudging and Nurdling' and 'Line and Length'; there is no let up over the course of the twelve tracks - it's cricket all the way, with sampled snippets of commentary and obscure references that only devotees of the game will get.
Is it the best album about cricket ever made? Very possibly - it is a fun, mildly amusing collection of hummable tunes but by the time you get to track twelve, the novelty value begins to wear a little thin.
So it's a case of bowled out rather than bowled over this time around.
Review by Paul Page | THREE STARS