Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott reunite for first time since The Beautiful South
14 years after Painting It Red, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott look set to return to the UK charts with the release of What Have We Become, a new studio album full of lyrical wit and humour.
The new album is the first time the pair has recorded together since the multi-million selling days of The Beautiful South, who charted several number one albums in the 1990s and early 2000s.
With her vocals on a string of hits including Rotterdam, Don’t Marry Her, Perfect Ten and Good As Gold (Stupid As Mud), Abbott quit the band in 2000 to look after her young son who was diagnosed with autism.
The Beautiful South eventually spilt in 2007 when Heaton shifted his focus to his solo career. The pair reunited in 2013 to record 16 new tracks for the new album.
Working with Jacqui again was like going into your garage and discovering a beautiful, covered up Rolls Royce that hadn’t been started in years. Jacqui is one of the best singers I’ve worked with and is also part of my past.
What Have We Become is an album of joyful rock ‘n’ soul numbers, laced with a little country-pop and Heaton’s jagged satirical lyrics.
Moulding of a Fool is barnstormer of an opener with its catchy pop melody complimenting Heaton’s caustic and clever lyrics. Heaton’s biting wit is also evident in numbers such as One Man’s England, When I Get Back To Blighty and I Am Not a Muse.
Former fans should check out The Right In Me and Stupid Tears, two brokenhearted numbers straight from the Beautiful South playbook with an upbeat pop-rock melody to match.
The real gems however, are When it Was Ours, an aching ballad about a sacred place that once belonged to two lovers and D.I.Y, a rockabilly hit with fast lyrics and all the hallmarks of Beautiful South past.
Deluxe versions of the album feature four additional bonus tracks including If He Don’t, a beautiful number with Heaton’s warm and mellifluous vocals complimented by the melancholy self-assured tones of Abbott.
In a rebirth of a beautiful friendship, Heaton and Abbott are firing like old on What Have We Become. The new album turns everything that is old into new again, to produce an album that recognisable yet rejuvenated.
What Have We Become is released on 19 May on Virgin Records