With Paul Heaton having called time on close to 20 years of classy and catchy pop brilliance, this collection of radio broadcasts is a fitting tribute to the melodic might of the South. It’s practically an alternative best of. While there’s little change to the arrangements of the original songs, the group’s three vocalists’ exchanging of batons will be of interest to fans.
Jacqui Abbot takes the lead vocal on a couple of tunes usually associated with the Heaton voice (Old Red Eyes Is Back, Let Love Speak Up Itself), as well as on some earlier material first handled by her predecessor, Briana Corrigan (A Little Time, You Keep It All In). Her finest hour, however, is still the straight duet with Paul on the glorious Perfect 10, a smart and savvy riposte to the body fascism of a media obsessed with skinniness.ï¿½
Though they were renowned for surprising cover choices in their live shows, sadly only one features among these 27 tracks, a spirited take on the Odyssey disco charttopper Use It Up & Wear It Out. Heaton can give Barry Gibb a run for his money in the falsetto stakes.