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The Beautiful South/The Housemartins - Soup

The Beautiful South/The Housemartins, Soup

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FOR the first time ever, the greatest hits of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South come together to create Soup, an almighty collection of 22 tracks that really do put a smile on the face.

The first seven tracks, in particular, are brimming with pop classics – from the harmony laden Caravan of Love that remains a timeless collector’s piece, to the enchanted Build, with its pleasant symphonies and beautiful vocal layering. Needless to say, it’s when the songs of The Housemartins take centre stage.

But there’s some equally fine moments to be taken from The Beautiful South’s hits selection, including the wonderfully sweet Song For Whoever that begins with the masterful opening line “I love you from the bottom of my pencil case” and unfolds into a shimmering chorus of girls names (“Jennifer, Alison, Philippa, Sue, Deborah, Annabel too…”). And You Keep It All In, which thrived on the boy-girl vocal combo between Heaton and Briana Corrigan.

Fun, too, is the happy go-lucky Good As Gold (Stupid As Mud), the delightful Everybody’s Talkin’, the lush, laidback classic Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) (featuring “the whole place is pickled and people are pickles for sure”) and the acoustic guitar-based Don’t Marry Her that never fails to impress (despite its rude lyrics).

For anyone who doesn’t already know (or who needs reminding), The Housemartins were active in the 1980s and were notable for producing lyrics that featured an odd mixture of Marxist politics and Christianity, reflecting singer Paul Heaton’s beliefs at the time. Incredibly, their line-up included one Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim.

Their breakthrough single was the chirpy Happy Hour, which reached No.3 in the UK charts, and it paved the way for gems such as the a capella Caravan of Love and the thought-provoking Think For A Minute.

The Beautiful South, on the other hand, were formed after The Housemartins split in 1998 by Heaton, Dave Hemingway and roadie Sean Welch – who were joined by Dave Stead (drums) and Dave Rotheray (guitar), as well as Briana on vocals (in 1990).

They continued to record together until January 2007, when they split citing “musical similarities”, having sold 15,000,000 records worldwide.

Soup is released through Mercury on November 12 and will be available on CD, CD/DVD and in an exclusive custom-made tin designed by long-term Beautiful South and Housemartins collaborators Ryan Art and David Cutter. This very special limited edition format will include a T-shirt, mug and CD DVD.

The DVD comes packed with previously unavailable clips and home video footage of both bands and includes a half hour Housemartins documentary featuring classic TV and festival performances.

One of the DVD’s highlights includes a prophetic snippet of Norman Cook using a rudimentary sampler to create a Housemartins remix. Other essential viewing includes a clip of The Housemartins singing a capella on seminal TV show The Tube and naked synchronized swimming in the baths at Newcastle Football club. It’s for all these reasons and more that Soup is worth owning.

Download picks: Happy Hour, Caravan of Love, Build, Song For Whoever, You Keep It All In, Good As Gold (Stupid As Mud), Rotterdam (Or Anywhere), Don’t Marry Her, Everybody’s Talkin’

Track listing:

  1. Flag Day
  2. Happy Hour
  3. Think For A Minute
  4. Caravan Of Love
  5. Five Get Over Excited
  6. Me And The Farmer
  7. Build
  8. Song For Whoever
  9. You Keep It All In
  10. I’ll Sail This Ship Alone
  11. A Little Time
  12. Old Red Eyes Is Back
  13. 36D
  14. Good As Gold (Stupid As Mud)
  15. Everybody’s Talkin’
  16. Prettiest Eyes
  17. One Last Love Song
  18. Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)
  19. Don’t Marry Her
  20. Perfect 10
  21. How Long’s A Tear Take To Dry?
  22. Just A Few Things That I Ain’t