Presents The 8th [CD + DVD] CD+DVD, NTSC
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The 8th is one of the longest songs ever written and was one of the hits of last year's Manchester International Festival 2011. A song in eight chapters, it looks at the seven deadly sins through a series of scenes taking place in a single poverty-stricken neighbourhood, one where a new, thoroughly modern sin, The 8th is able to insinuate itself into every person's life Given a theatrical narrative by award-winning playwright Che Walker (Royal Court and Young Vic) and directed by Paines Plough's joint artistic director George Perrin, the staging of the show at the Manchester International Festival last year was a massive success, with three sold out shows across the event. The staged version of The 8th was commissioned by Manchester International Festival and Paines Plough and premiered at MIF 2011. Alongside Paul Heaton, The 8th features guests - star of US hit series The Wire Reg E Cathey, Ivor Novello winning artist Cherry Ghost, ex Beautiful South singer Jacqui Abbott, as well as sweet soul singer Wayne Gidden, Scottish singer songwriter Aaron Wright, The Earlies Christian Madden, Hull country & western singer Mike Greaves and the wonderful Yvonne Shelton.
The concept album was an early casualty of punk. After the grandiosity of The Who’s Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, to name but quite enough, new groups decided that a whole record devoted to one theme was pompous and wrong.
The Jam turned Setting Sons into a normal record, The Damned mocked the whole thing with a joke about “Tummy” (you had to be there), and concept albums went away. Then punk went away, bands like Rush and Marillion came back out, and it was possible again to make themed records as diverse as Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach or David Bowie’s Outside.
And now the concept album lumbers back in again from a highly unexpected quarter. Paul Heaton, maker of sharp pop in the 1980s and 90s with The Housemartins and later The Beautiful South, has had a bitty career of late. After The Beautiful South fizzled out a few years back, Heaton released a couple of solid but unspectacular solo albums (one, unhelpfully, as Biscuit Boy) which didn’t do that well – largely because he seemed reluctant to alter the melodic and lyrical template which he’d been using in his last two bands.
It’s a welcome surprise then that his latest effort is a massive step in a new direction, a short story of sorts (narrated by The Wire’s Reg E. Cathey and written by Ché Walker), set in the USA and themed loosely around the Seven Deadly Sins. The 8th uses funky beats, synth blasts, gospel motifs and guest appearances from Simon Aldred (Cherry Ghost), Steve Menzies and The Beautiful South’s Jacqui Abbot to create this fresh sound.
At times Heaton’s melodies are a bit familiar (and his opposition to words like “the” and “a” continues) and the story gets in the way of the music, but he can only be commended for moving away from his own overused pulse beat. Often, The 8th is hard-going, but at best it has some powerful moments, such as Heaton’s reggae-rock take on the 8th sin, GOSSIP. At absolute worst it’s a powerful, exciting experiment that should revitalise Heaton’s always eccentric muse.
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Top Customer Reviews
The album contains 10 new Heaton compositions mixed in with narration from Reg E Cathey (The Wire), but from a listening point of view it doesn't really work, but the songs standout on their own and are sung by a variety of musicians. Throughout it are unmistakable Heaton lyrics "the times they are a changin / but only if you're Bob" (Panther) to "fat was the ass that was sitting on the seat" (Gluttony), while on `Greed' he cleverly has a dig at Bono's financial transactions ... "smiling Irish eyes...Holland's banking Ireland's sweetest thing".
`Envy' is the closest we get to a Beautiful South song, with former female vocalist Jacqui Abbott making a welcome return (ahead of her appearance on his new album next year) and is still singing as gorgeous as ever. `Pride' certainly not a U2 cover (as if Paul would want to add to Bono's royalties) is sung by folk-singer Mike Greaves, whom Beautiful South fans will remember as the composer of `Diamonds' many years ago. What a voice this man has, and it just draws you in when he sings ... "buy a flag / wear a pin / get that scarf around your chin". He's a sort of cross between Cohen and Dylan and we deserve to hear more from this talented singer / songwriter.
It's not till `Gossip' (the 8th deadly sin) that Heaton himself makes a cameo appearance. Half-way through, this one goes into a chant that would fit perfectly on Carry On Up The Charts.Read more ›
This is a Paul Heaton Masterpiece I have always loved Pauls songs but this is far more than a collection of songs around a theam with the fantastic naration by Reg e cathey this is a Journey thrrough a mans life with all its twists and turns. Its not been out of my car since i bought it and its just gets better evry time you hear it.
Love it Love it Love It
Good, I'll continue!
My view, and it's only my view, this is a concept album on which Paul Heaton 'discovers' there is an 8th deadly sin.
He 'presents' seven guests on the album to sing about each sin and then sings about the 8th!
Lots of Paul Heaton signature stuff here but if it's Paul's voice you crave you could end up disappointed. Great songs interspersed with a Story that unravels throughout the sins.
This for me is a classic but like I said at the top of my finger punching 'it's just my view'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Is a birthday present for an avid fan of Paul Heaton so I am sure he will love itPublished 16 months ago by A. R. Butcher
The combination of CD and DVD and the high quality of music, narrative, and performances make this the best bargain of my Paul Heaton-Beautiful South collection. Read morePublished on 19 July 2014 by R. McColley