Often steering dangerously close to being too camp, Neil Hannon is perhaps the closest to a modern day version of Scott Walker that we are ever likely to get. Hannon has penned many fine tunes over a near-decade long career so to cherry pick seventeen tracks from 5 quality albums (the first, hard-to-find album remains deleted) is bound to draw criticism as praise. Early album tracks 'Lucy' and 'Your Daddy's Car' are excellent examples of how Hannon didn't need an orchestra to sound great; both are glorious, sweeping pop tunes, with Hannon's trademark swinging sixties feel but the menacing guitar underpinning both tracks shows us that he had listened to indie music too and the latter boasts Hannon's yearning vocals at its most impressive. Given a bigger production budget for the fourth album 'Casanova', Hannon released the humorous, expedient singles 'Something For The Weekend' and 'Becoming More Like Alfie'; again they are beyond reproach. It's harsh to say it went wrong from there on in but Hannon's obsession with orchestras led to the unmistakeable whiff of style over substance; 'National Express' and the two new tracks featured on this compilation lack the vital edge of the earlier material; Hannon often coming across as too aloof although his lyrical bite has remained undiminished and missing out one of his best songs from his later career, 'Commuter Love' when novelties such as the Noel Coward tribute 'I've Been To A Marvellous Party' are included is just silly, quite frankly. But then again, at least half of these tracks are great which is more than can be said for many other 'Best Ofs'.