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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Housemartins carrying on, 22 Oct 2001
By 
decam@iol.ie (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
The people who grinned themselves to death is another deceiving set of songs from Mr Heaton and friends. From the pacy title track to I cant put my finger on it through to the final track Build we have a set of songs that outwardly seem just an exercise in wordplay, when we examine what lies behind this exterior we find emotional depth, sincerity and truth coupled with some finely crafted tunes and melodies.
This is wonderufl stuff from the band, it is well produced, written and constructed and every track is an experience. Buy it, listen to it and then really listen to it, you wont have it off for months.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Songs About Buildings And Feud, 7 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
This 1987 follow-up to their pop masterpiece, 1986's debut album London 0 Hull 4, finds Paul Heaton's (and Stan Cullimore's) song-writing not quite at its peak (as on the previous record), but TPWGTTD is still a fine example of politically-inspired pop, featuring some typically incisive and witty lyrics from Heaton. There are also signs on this album of a transition to a more mellow sound, that was to characterise Heaton's next venture, The Beautiful South, as well as good (but, sadly, rather sparing) use of backing brass, including Heaton playing trombone and renowned jazzman Guy Barker on trumpet.

As is to be expected, Heaton's lyrical targets are many and varied (if, I guess, relatively predictable) here taking in air-headed, trendy, (probably rich), young things (the sinuous I Can't Put My Finger On It and Heaton's hilarious Enid Blyton tribute, and one of the album's highlights, the vibrant Five Get Over Excited - both songs featuring a girl named Fifi), capitalist exploitation (another album highpoint, You Better Be doubtful), Apartheid reform in South Africa (the beautifully affecting ballad, Johannesburg), showbiz excesses (The Light Is Always Green), religion (The World's On Fire) - and then perhaps less predictably - farming (another vibrant effort, Me And The Farmer) and (what appears to be ) outdated working practices (We're Not Going Back).

However, my personal favourites here are the album's bookend songs. The (notorious) title song which opens the album really does make The Pistols' God Save The Queen looks like a walk in the park (or maybe in Buckingham Palace grounds) - OK, I am joking (slightly) but Heaton's lyrics here are (even for him) sharply vitriolic ('And even when their kids were starving, they all thought the queen was charming'). Regardless of one's political views, however, the song is a pulsating pop gem, making good use of the brass. Then, rounding off the album is one of my favourite ever Heaton tunes, the sublime ballad Build, with a vocal and melody to die for, and whose target appears to be an excessively expansive building industry (which I guess could be regarded as rather ironic given the current housing shortage).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I cant put my finger on.........., 20 Mar 2004
This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
Why I love this album. Every song is a mini masterpiece from a band who were killed off just before the height of there powers.
Yes the band members that went on to greater things (messers Heaton, Hemmingway, Cook & collymore) and are still doing great things, but this album has a rawness and an urgency about it that the earlier London 0 Hull 4 lacked in certain respects and the present work is also missing. they have done a lot of growing up since this. Gone there seperate ways.
This album has a glimpse of what might have been.
A back looking crystal ball for Fat Boy Slim, The beautiful South, and the indie 80's socialist.
this is a clasic of the genre
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5.0 out of 5 stars housemartains album, 19 April 2014
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Great album housemartains fab takes me back to my youth happy times
It had been too long since I last heard any of these tracks great buy
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5.0 out of 5 stars best band of the eighties, 6 April 2014
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This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
great album, great lyrics. the early work of paul heaton is second to none. sad that this was there last album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure class, 18 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
Greatest group ever had these originally on cassette and nothin to play them on now I clan blast em back out on cd feel like I,m back in my youth, sounds great on cd top quality disc cover etc, the mutzs nutz
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine second offering from the Humberside lads, 25 Jun 2009
By 
T.K "Tom" (Stoke,England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
Despite not being as instant as their catchy and fun first album, this their second album still offers a fine selection of songs that are lyrically stronger than there debut album. For example the title track is a terrific album opener that is easily comparable to The Smiths song The Queen is Dead because of its lyrical content, it it seen as an obvious attack on the Royle Family. there are many other classics on here aswell like the singles Me and The Farmer, Five get over excited and arguably there finest song Build, album tracks like Bow Down and We're not going back are also superb. The only downside to this otherwise excellent album is 3 fairly boring and uninspiring tracks e.g Pirate Aggro,Johannesburg and You better be doubtful, but despite those low points this album is a fine way to end there brief but brilliant career, esaily recommendable.

Key Tracks:People who grinned Themselves to Death,Worlds on Fire,Me and the Farmer,Bow Down,Build

Also Buy 'Talking with the Taxman about Poetry' by Billy Bragg
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second album = first class, 21 Sep 2011
This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
When I first heard this album in the 80's I wasn't blown away by it. In fact when the band split up and the Beautiful South was formed I refused to listen to this album for years. After the bitterness subsided more recently I bought the CD and now all I can say is wow...
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memory lane, 16 Feb 2011
This review is from: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (Audio CD)
just like to say great catchy songs was a smiths fan etc.. in my day so wanted to try and remember the house martins glad I did
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