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Dixie & Gayle's Album Of The Week
Paul Heaton is the very ordinary looking genius behind The Beautiful South, The Housemartins and now The 8th. However The 8th isn't a band or even an album really! It's a project, a movement and a rock/ folk/ pop/ soul opera featuring some talented individuals you've never heard of.
Monumentally narrated by The Wire's Reg E. Cathey, you are immediately immersed into a world of sins and sinners, where the bad are very bad and the good... are also very bad. Fortunately the songs and the story are really really good. It's like War Of The Worlds meets Quentin Tarentino.
The 8th opens with menacing guitars, weird sound effects and police talking on CB's. It then throws you into Panther sounding vaguely reminiscent of Television The Drug Of The Nation. From here, we are treated to each of the seven deadly sins.
We particularly enjoyed Greed with its choral and (almost Caravan Of Love) acapella interludes; Gluttony for its rich Celtic overtones; Pride which is fabulously Bob Dylanesque and Wrath which is soft and dreamy, then instensely rocky.
However Envy is the stand out track - possibly because, it features ex-Beautiful South singer Jacqui Abbott, who you will remember from the brilliant Rotterdam and Don't Marry Her.
Paul Heaton only pops up on vocals near the end during Gossip and we would have liked to hear more from him, but we're still happy to give this one a weird but Perfect Ten.
If you want to see The 8th, it is being performed at MFest.
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