After the not entirely modern, not so old-fashioned either, relatively straight-up Victory for the Comic Muse, much of Bang Goes the Knighthood is refreshingly and charmingly off-beat. At times it’s endearing or silly; sometimes it even manages to be both at the same time. It feels, perhaps as a result of Hannon’s recent solo man and a piano tours, like a one-man job. Not only that but it’s that of a man so freed from the past that he comes dangerously close to asking if he can borrow it when Down in the Street Below flirts with stealing a brief snippet of the arrangement from The Summerhouse.
A week before the album’s release, At the Indie Disco was released, dropping all the right names for the 90s indie crowd and coming across like a pitch-perfect homage. Later, Hannon admitted that the song wasn’t based on personal experience, more an imagining of indie discos passim that he himself missed out on. Did this make the song less authentic, or more? Does it really matter? I don’t have to believe that Hannon has been diving for pearls in the shallow sea to allow myself to be transported into the world of his Island Life, so the feeling is perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much. Perhaps it was just the surprise on hearing that Hannon - so cool he stopped trying to be cool a long time ago - was not an indie disco regular. But then again - why would he be?
It’s an up and down album (lyrically and metaphorically) Neapolitan Girl and The Lost Art of Conversation dance on beds of cool jazzy guitar piano respectively, while at the opposite end of the scale, the album’s silliness is mostly contained within the music hall atmosphere of Can You Stand Upon One Leg, which contains comedy sound effects (no, really it does), and when played live usually includes a joke told by a member of the crowd. Residual traces of silliness seep out and into The Complete Banker, and the entirely without conceit I Like, in which Hannon seems hell-bent on disproving any suggestion of his value of a curator of fine lyrical constructions. It’s a mission he blows with the following couplet:
I like your car, you curse like a trooper
During a hard reversing manoeuvre
And one final lyrical treat to round off a day of such delights - one that puts a whole new spin on family outings to National Trust properties:
We’ll walk the grounds by Capability Brown
Get lost for days inside the manicured maze
We’ll bump our heads jumping on a four-post bed
And we’ll ride for free
On the ladders round the walls of the circular library
And that, as they say, is that. Another band, another day…