Beautiful songs on menu as Beautiful South duo reunite

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.

Playing hits from the Beautiful South and the Housemartins, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott will be in Seapoint Ballroom, Salthill, on Thursday, October 30. There will be new material too, taken from their acclaimed new album What Have We Become?

The pair reunited last year when Paul was working on what he had initially intended would be a solo album.

“It was suggested that I ask Jacqui to sing, and when she said yes, I went away and wrote another five or six songs that would be better suited to her voice,” Paul says.

Paul and Jacqui were in The Beautiful South at the height of the band’s success, and Paul has retained some writing habits from his days with the chart toppers.

“Traditionally, with The Beautiful South, I went to Holland to write the lyrics and Spain to write the music,” he says. “With this present bunch of songs, I wrote all of it in Holland. This last album was written in Alkmaar, which is probably a similar size to Galway.”

Heaton’s trademark wit is evident throughout What Have We Become, and Abbott’s voice remains distinctive as ever. Some of the barbs are sharper than those of The Beautiful South though. They include the Cameron-baiting lyric, ‘the real terrorist ain’t reading the Koran/He’s sitting in 10 Downing Street and he works for Uncle Sam’.

“I don’t think there has been a Prime Minister to feel affinity with in decades,” says the staunchly socialist Heaton. “So, yes it’s an attack on Cameron, but they all work for Uncle Sam, don’t they? Look at the situation in your country; you’re working for the IMF.”

The album also sees Heaton and Abbott take aim at Phil Collins and Sting. But, in the UK at least, the Beautiful South were as successful as those acts. What does Heaton set himself apart from them?

“Well, I’m a UK resident,” he says. “I have only one house, that is a terraced house, where I’m sat now, in England. Which is slightly different. I’m a UK taxpayer, I’ve always paid my tax in this country and haven’t attempted to avoid taxes.”