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.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson