Album: Paul Heaton, The Cross-Eyed Rambler (W14)

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The Independent Culture

A ramble across familiar terrain. In its louder moments, 'The Cross-Eyed Rambler' rocks as vigorously as the Housemartins. It also swings, in a country and western way, just like the Beautiful South.

Thematically, Paul Heaton remains an eagle-eyed social chronicler, tackling bigotry, sexless marriages and thwarted suicides. His pessimism is exquisitely worded, and the closing "Everything Is Everything" expresses his exasperation with the modern world in uncompromising terms: "The newsreader likes to read the news, but he's also in a band/And feminism's fast asleep with a cock in either hand."

Pick of the Album: Unhappy hour again: 'Everything Is Everything'