Regeneration Redux

Ever bought a record and thought it was the greatest thing since Leatherass died, only to tire of it somewhat inexplicably, and then return to it a few months later to find that it was, in fact, shite?

This happened to me with the Magic Numbers’ album, the Strokes’ first album (I still like their second album though), the Vines’ first album, the Thrills’ first album (I didn’t bother with their second), and, to give an example from the far more distant past, Sleeps With Angels by Neil Young.

More rare, I think, is the album you gave a couple of listens and discarded because you thought it was totally dire, and then you returned to it to find that, in fact, it is rather good.

This has happened to me with The Divine Comedy’s Regeneration. I got an iPod for my birthday, and I’ve started about loading all my CDs on to it. I thought I had lost this particular CD, although I hadn’t exactly killed myself trying to find it. But I came across it this morning and have given it a few listens, and I now think I was very harsh in my initial assessment.

It has little of the pomp and circumstance or louche personae of any of his other albums, and since that’s one of the things you might find most alluring about, say, Casanova or Victory for the Comic Muse, it could be this absence that makes it difficult to get into. This work is a lot more understated and restrained in production and lyrics, yet after a few listens this becomes part of its appeal.

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September 2006

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