HEATON & ABBOTT’S TOWN
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