The Duckworth Lewis Method - Sticky Wickets
One of the highlights of the summer of 2009 apart, of course, from the splendid Ashes win was the delightfully barmy cricket-themed album from Messrs Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh aka The Duckworth Lewis Method. Fast forward to 2013 and the Aussies are in town once more and so are, rather unexpectedly are TDLM with the aptly titled follow up, Sticky Wickets.
Although not as instantly catchy as the debut, the songs on display here seem to improve with every listen as if they are learning from the experience of having played ‘Out in the Middle’ enough times to know what they are doing. As undoubted past masters of songsmithery, Hannon and Walsh have strengthened their team with guest appearances from, among others, the lugubrious Henry Blofeld on ‘It’s Just Not Cricket’, a sumptuous Stephen Fry on the maudlin tale of ‘Judd’s Paradox’ and Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe) on ‘Third Man’, a musing on a wasted afternoon that will resonate strongly with many a club cricketer.
The only question mark must be against the albums’ accessibility to a non-cricket au fait audience but surely a few listens, followed by five days in front of the 1st Ashes Test will win over all but the most foolhardy doubters. The Duckworth Lewis Method have found themselves ‘Nudging and Nurdling’ their way to another finally balanced innings and a fully deserved red inker with Sticky Wickets; as joyous a celebration of summer, sporting excellence and perfectly crafted pop whimsy as could be imagined. ‘Owzat?