Biscuit Boy/ Crackerman : Fat Chance

The boy Heaton returns in worthy, but stale solo effort...

Biscuit Boy is none other than Paul Heaton of The Beautiful South in solo mode. Heaton has announced that this album came about because no one would be interested in an album from The Beautiful South. Which isn’t much of a fanfare.

What biscuit would Paul Heaton be – As ever, he’d like to be seen as something classic which continues to be the nation’s favourite teatime nibble. There’s a twin layer of the deliberately contemporary (mention of asylum seekers on grimy ballad ‘Last Day Blues’) and Fifties flashbacks (name checking Marilyn Monroe’s The Seven Year Itch on Humberside funk number ’10 Lessons In Love’).

Heaton may still be the Philip Larkin of pop – profound yet seedy – but if he were a biscuit he’d more likely be a United. Once tasty but now obsolete. Even his socialist ire, with lyrics like “You don’t beat recession forming orderly queues” on the plain-speaking honkytonk of ‘Man’s World’, sounds out of place in today’s apathetic political culture.

Which doesn’t mean that Heaton can’t write a decent tune. Perhaps, though, it’s time he started writing them for people more in touch with pop culture. So he can stay on the settee with his packet of Hob Nobs.

Andre Paine