The Divine Comedy - Come Home Billy Bird (Parlophone)
UK release date: 22 March 2004
There's been silence from The Divine Comedy for almost exactly three years. Just before Neil Hannon returns with the new album Absent Friends (sans the rest of the band, but with Joby Talbot involved), here's the first single. Is it a return to form? Yes - or at least nearly.
Come Home Billy Bird is bouncy pop with a flavour of Something For The Weekend about it, though not quite as inspired or quirky (but then, what is?). Strings give way to a classic up-beat acoustic guitar, some decent lyrics and a catchy chorus with vocals courtesy of Lauren Laverne.
It's a Hannon song for grown-ups, workers who, like the eponymous hero, know the horrors of business air travel. It's good fun, and Hannon's rich voice sounds better than ever. Definitely a step back in the right direction.