402. The Housemartins – “London 0 Hull 4″

While in Europe last week, I purchased a rather natty cardigan from a certain Swedish multinational retailer with an acronym name resembling the moniker of this here act.

I blame this band and this album cover for my occasional forays into cardie-wearing. Paul Heaton makes it look so cool and sensible.

This debut has that sort of effect. Listening to this record, one would think that Northern Soul was always the most natural and obvious choice for delivering biting critiques of late ’80s Thatcherite Britain and its rising individualism and materialism.

I love the perverted pop sensibilities of these guys. They slyly compose’ catchy basslines (something Norman Cook took to the extreme in later guises), and seemingly innocuous lyrics and choruses, that at closer listening are biting and subversive. Of course, sometimes they make the message pretty clear:

Not surprisingly, this album doesn’t quite have the firepower of the greatest hits package, but if you see a copy anywhere grab it and listen hard. And seek out the vinyl version with the five extra tracks that aren’t even on the remastered re-release – it’s more soul covers, and that Caravan of Love curiosity:

File under: A hull of a time

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