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Album Review

In what has become a familiar pattern, Quench, the Beautiful South's sixth regular album release (not counting the singles compilation Carry on Up the Charts), entered the British charts at number one in October 1998, following the number two success of its single, "Perfect 10," while in the U.S. its release was delayed until July 1999, when it made no commercial impression at all. As usual, Paul Heaton and his comrades take a jaundiced look at the world while crooning melodically over pop, rock, and cocktail jazz tracks. The CD booklet contains only one photograph, an out-of-focus shot of a barroom, and as the album's title implies, Quench is awash in alcohol. Its most telling self-portrait may be "Look What I Found in My Beer," in which Heaton views his musical career as his salvation from alcoholism and self-loathing. "Look what I found in the mic," he sings, "An end to screwed-up drinking and a Paul I actually like." But he often uses metaphors to get across his viewpoint, notably on such songs as "The Slide," "The Table," and "Window Shopping for Blinds." Singer Jacqueline Abbott serves as his foil and expands the dramatic possibilities, especially on the album-closing "Your Father and I," in which parents tell conflicting stories about a child's conception and birth, only to conclude, "Your father and I won't tell the truth." If the Beautiful South's early work mixed biting sarcasm with pop riffs, Quench finds the group playing in less of a pop style, while Heaton's lyrics have become more bitter and self-pitying, but no less witty. Still, American recognition continues to seem unlikely for a writer who likes to make puns involving Peter Lorre and a lorry (that's a truck to us Yankees).

Customer Reviews

Heaton's Finest

This is the best album by The Beautiful South, without question. Heaton's lyrics are stunning in the way they convey such depth of feeling so succinctly - perhaps with the exception of the rather bizarre "I May be Ugly" (although you still end up loving it). There are a mix of musical styles which make every track unique, yet at the same time, each is unmistakably Beautiful South. Brilliant. Download it, enjoy the music and indulge yourself in the lyrics.

Smooth, with a touch of broken glass...

This album mixes so many different styles and genres but manages to carry them off with a wonderful underlying backbone of jazz. There are songs that will make you smile, songs that will make you sad and a few that are there to confuse you. Another wonderful album by 'The Beautiful South' - well worth the download.

A Record Too Far…..?

Enjoyed their first 2 records, but even the odd humorous line doesn't save this one from being very ordinary. A could of ok songs - Perfect 10 stands out - but overall their worst and one to avoid.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Hull, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Following the disbandment of the British indie pop group the Housemartins in 1989, vocalist Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South. Where their previous group relied on jazzy guitars and witty, wry lyrics, the Beautiful South boasted a more sophisticated, jazzy pop sound, layered with keyboards, R&B-inflected female backing vocals and, occasionally, light orchestrations. Often, the group's relaxed, catchy songs contradicted the sarcastic, cynical thrust of the lyrics....
Full bio