Today we’re back in the company of my early 90s burgeoning CD collection. 0898: Beautiful South (to give it its full credited title), or 0898 as its more commonly known was the third album by alt-pop tunesmiths The Beautiful South, back in 1992. While their first two albums, Welcome to the Beautiful South and Choke both made it to the number two spot in the album charts, 0898 only made it as far as number four. Its singles also didn’t perform as well, Bell Bottomed Tear the highest charting among them, reaching number 16.
We Are Each Other was the second single from the album after Old Red Eyes is Back, and is typical of the band from this period. Although a guitar is the first sound you hear on the song, it’s restrained, and quickly gives way to the melody, harmony, and biting vocals that drive the song.
There’s no more little secrets we haven’t yet disclosed
We bore the living daylights of anyone too close
And all our cards at Christmas are written to us both
Count them up who’s got the most?
The whole album is full of hints of the sinister, as on Something that you Said, but compassion finds a way in (Old Red Eyes is Back, I’m Your Number One Fan) to provide just enough of a break from the darkness, and while there’s humour, it comes in both dark and lighter shades, as on When I’m 84. Perhaps old age has pushed it to the back of the collection, or perhaps the unprecedented success of compilation album Carry on up the Charts, which sold record numbers in record time and seemed to find a home in music collections up and down the land, big or small, just led to Beautiful South fatigue. Regardless, 0898 is long overdue a revisit or two.