THE HOUSEMARTINS : LONDON 0 HULL 4
Label : Go! Discs
Release Year : 1986
Length : 46:55
Review (Wikipedia) : London 0 Hull 4 is a 1986 album by The Housemartins. It was their first album and contains the singles "Flag Day" (#58 in the UK), "Sheep" (#54 in the UK), "Happy Hour" (#3 in the UK) and "Think for a Minute" (#18 in the UK). The title refers to the band's home town of Kingston upon Hull and is in the format of a sports result. It also refers to Paul Heaton's assertion that the Housemartins were only the fourth best band in Hull. In other words, Hull had four great bands, compared to none from London. The liner notes and lyrics reflect singer Paul Heaton's interest at that time in Christianity and Marxism. For example, the back cover of the album contains the message, "Take Jesus - Take Marx - Take Hope". In 1992, the album was re-released on CD and featured four additional tracks, along with the front cover phrase, "16 songs - 17 hits!" The album was re-released again on 22 June 2009, as London 0 Hull 4 Deluxe, containing a second CD of bonus tracks, B-sides and live recordings.
Review (AllMusic) : Like a box of chocolate truffles with BBs hidden in them, a Housemartins album offers deceivingly simple and tuneful pop songs that are designed to cause you some discomfort once you start chewing on them. Singer and songwriter Paul Heaton sings with a disarmingly boyish voice, high and adenoidal, and his bandmates contribute angelic harmonies as well as sweet and straightforward guitar pop instrumental settings. But listen closely to Heaton's lyrics and you find yourself plunged into a world of class resentment, bitter economic disappointment, and strangled rage. "Get Up Off Our Knees" includes the deathless couplet "Don't point your fingers at them and turn to walk away/Don't shoot someone tomorrow that you can shoot today," while "Sitting on a Fence" ridicules those who "see both sides of both sides" and "Sheep" bemoans the apathy of the downtrodden masses. Heaton is no simple lefty - his politics are a strange amalgam of Marxism and Christianity - but his views are brutally uncompromising, and they constitute a very iron fist wrapped in the velvet glove of the Housemartins' blissful guitar pop. Agree with him or not, there's no denying the music's power.