It may be inexplicable to the Brits, but on this side of the pond the Beautiful South barely rate a “yeah, they’re OK” among the folks that have even heard of them. That’s an injustice, of course, and may have more to do with the lack of appreciation, much less a market, for terribly, clever subversion (just ask Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy) about it). That’s what Paul Heaton and company do best, you know. Beneath the middle of the road arrangements, which Heaton himself has acknowledged are nothing earth shattering, lurk some of the most bitterly funny lyrics to emerge from the sceptered Isle since the days of Noel Coward. One can almost imagine Heaton’s pen being behind a line like: “If England is a garden/then we ought to have more manure.” (from Coward’s “There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner”).
Quench follows up the bluesy Blue Is The Colour, and, while is not on the level of their debut Welcome to the Beautiful South, does manage to add a bit rockier touch and the witty lyrics for which they are famous. If you’re a fan, give it a go. If you’ve never heard these guys, start with the greatest hits album Carry On Up the Charts.