From the opening strains of 'Timestretched' it is clear that Neil Hannon has gone back, at last, to his musical roots. It's a lovely hanutingly spare tune; Hannon's voice sounding rich and invigorated but what's more important is that the musicians accompanying him are no longer trying to outdo the London Symphony Orchestra for bombast. Guitars are more prominent than they have been since 1993's masterpiece 'Liberation'. 'Bad Ambassador', 'Perfect Lovesong' and 'Love What You Do' are good enough singles but for the album itself the mood is noticeably bleak. Witness the excellent run of 'Note To Self', 'Lost Property' and the Church-themed 'Eye Of The Needle' and later on the glorious descending chorus of 'Dumb It Down'; all are relentless in the pursuit of tuneful melancholia. With a noticeable lack of filler (no novelty pop ditties or ironic spoken asides this time) it all adds up to making 'Regeneration' one of the best albums of 2001 thus far.