Promenade by The Divine Comedy


Promenade is The Divine Comedy's third album. It was released in 1994 on Setanta to much critical acclaim but little commercial success. It is a concept album about two lovers who spend a day at the seaside.

The album's style is even more classical-sounding than its predecessor, Liberation. The string arrangements are reminiscent of the works of Michael Nyman, with whom The Divine Comedy would later collaborate. Neil once said that after attending one of Michael Nyman's shows he went up to the composer, handed him a copy of Promenade, and jokingly said, "You can sue me if you like." Years later Nyman said he did not remember the incident, but he said he felt more "flattered than ripped off."

Promenade, like Liberation, was recorded by Neil and co-producer Darren Allison, with the addition of String Quartet, and oboe/cor anglais courtesy of Joby Talbot, thus marking his first appearance in The Divine Comedy's history. Joby would go on to become the arranger for most of The Divine Comedy's post-Casanova work, even co-writing two Divine Comedy songs.

Promenade is even more overtly literary than Liberation. It opens with a quote from Isaac Watts' hymn "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past" and ends with a quote from John Dryden's translation of one of Horace's odes (which is also sung as the chorus of "The Booklovers"). "The Booklovers" is a list of over seventy different authors.