on 22 October 2001
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.
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- and then perhaps less predictably - farming (another vibrant effort, Me And The Farmer) and (what appears to be ) outdated working practices (We're Not Going Back).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).
on 20 March 2004
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
on 25 June 2009
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
on 18 December 2013
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