Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Just beautiful... double act's talent has not headed south

Paul Heaton
Paul Heaton

When Jacqui Abbott replaced original band member Briana Corrigan as Paul Heaton's female singing foil in the Beautiful South it instigated a second creative and commercial flourishing for the band.

Not surprising then that new collaboration What Have We Become has garnered not just a slew of favourable notices but a top three spot in the album charts. Last time I saw Mr Heaton tear up this venue he was channelling his inner punk.

A packed Limelight last night saw him return to the pop perfection of yore, albeit in a beefed up format.

Opener Some Dancing To Do was typically muscular, but immediately showed both singers' voices meshing perfectly, and Rotterdam was an early gift to welcome Abbott back to the wonderful world of pop.

Then it was a question of plundering that glorious back catalogue while properly representing the new material.

Prettiest Eyes saw Heaton at his most angelic and even The Housemartins joined the party via old classics like Build.

But the new material, ranging from country blues to the Motown stomp of Moulding Of A Fool shows Heaton has lost none of his lyrical edge.

Abbott, getting more winsome with every passing song, wowed us with Dream A Little Dream, reminding us that during her spell with the Beautiful South that they had a knack for the clever cover version.

It's good to have them back.

Four stars

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