Paul Heaton And Jacqui Abbott
Crooked Calypso VIRGIN. CD/DL/LP
Former Beautiful Housemartin and friend are back – and this time it’s soulful. Paul Heaton’s career has a clear throughline from The Housemartins’ Flag Day in 1984 right up to this, Heaton and Abbott’s third album together. Crooked Calypso sees them move away from their previous albums’ slightly odd crunchy guitar sound, into a fuller, even more soulful style. From the Hi Records strings of If I May to the hi-life sounds of Silence Is, this is an album made with unusual attention to detail. At times, Abbott and Heaton’s voices are a little interchangeable in a way the male/female vocals weren’t in The Beautiful South, but in general the Heaton touchstones are all present here – shortage of definite articles, politics, wrinkles, a rockabilly number (The Lord Is A White Con) – with an energy and a sly melodic wit which puts Crooked Calypso up with his best work.