Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Wisdom, Laughter and Lines

Like many national treasures, Paul Heaton has been around so long it’s easy to take him for granted.
His time with the Housemartins all but forgotten, it’s as likely as not that the majority of the UK think of him as that bloke from the Beautiful South and Laughter and Lines is a South album in all but name.
It’s a decent one, too: both his and Abbott’s voices are in fine fettle – her rich northern velvety tones are every bit the match for his chirrupy pop vocal stylings.
There’s a reason he’s taken for granted, though. Yes, the songs are good, catchy and memorable, yes the lyrics are as sharp as ever (although you might want to cover the kids’ ears during Heatongrad), but there’s a feeling of having heard it all before.
To give them both their due, there’s the odd foray into different territories, with single The Austerity of Love toying with ska and Horse and Groom going full-on rock, but realistically it could all have been made any time in the last 25 years.
Whether that matters is a moot point and depends on how much you enjoy Heaton and Abbott’s unique blend of pop and soul. Me? I could listen to it all day.
Like this? Try these: Roddy Frame, Seven Dials; Kirsty Maccoll, Galore

By Andrew Greenhalgh


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