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HEATON & ABBOTT’S TOWN

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This is the fourth duo album by ex-Beautiful Southerner­s Heaton and Abbott, and their first since 2017’s Crooked Calypso. Heaton’s extensive repertoire of huge hits was celebrated last year with

The Last King Of Pop, culled from a selection of albums that, collective­ly, had clocked up a hefty 15 million sales. The quality of material here suggests a sequel could well be necessary at some point.

Manchester Calling starts with the full-on country-ish knees-up of ‘The Only Exercise I Get Is

You’, a potential earworm for the masses. ‘If You Could Only See Your Faults’ is almost quintessen­tial Beautiful South, with Abbott taking the lead and Heaton adding his trademark harmonies. ‘Somebody’s Superhero’ has a doomy drum and piano to start, and there’s a strong hint of disillusio­nment in Heaton’s voice. ‘So Happy’, meanwhile, is uncharacte­ristically twee, even if I’ve no problem with the lovedup feel of the song. The kick-ass ‘A Good Day Is Hard To Find’ is joyfully Springstee­n-ish, and the country-lite feel is back for ‘House Party 2’, which looks at hedonism through the knowing eyes of a 40-year-old woman who’s been around the block.

Manchester Calling delivers a generous 16 tracks, proving that not only is Heaton impressive­ly prolific, his quality control rarely slips. His talents are perfectly complement­ed by Abbott, who slips into each song as if it’s a favourite jacket she’s already at home in. OUT MARCH 6 · JACKIE HAYDEN

 ??  ?? ‘You And Me (Were Meant To Be Together)’ VIRGIN EMI Manchester Calling Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott
‘You And Me (Were Meant To Be Together)’ VIRGIN EMI Manchester Calling Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott

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