Gathering singles, B-sides, BBC sessions, and key album cuts from all chapters of the Housemartins' brief but brilliant career, the posthumous Now That's What I Call Quite Good! is both a glowing greatest-hits package and an odds-and-ends clearinghouse -- a fitting epitaph for a band which thrived on contradictions in consistently pitting the personal versus the political and the secular versus the spiritual. Despite the uniform excellence of their two studio LPs, this release confirms once and for all that the Housemartins were first and foremost a singles band -- even removed from their album context, highlights including "Bow Down," "Build," and "The Light Is Always Green" boast all the immediacy and infectiousness of classic pop radio fodder, even if their actual mainstream appeal was minimal at best. The previously uncollected material, meanwhile, reveals a warmth and intimacy often missing from Paul Heaton's most trenchant social commentaries -- in particular, the "garage gospel" approach which distinguishes remarkable readings of Luther Ingram's "I'll Be Your Shelter" and the Isley Brothers' "Caravan of Love" (the latter the Housemartins' lone U.K. chart-topper) radiate an intensely humanistic empathy which underlines the utter conviction at the heart of all the group's work.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny