Fat Chance's initial release at the end of last year was a fiasco. Credited to Biscuit Boy aka Crackerman and given a dreadful cartoon cover, it died a lonely death. Belatedly, Beautiful South leader Paul Heaton has claimed his rightful credit and, as if nothing untoward had happened, Fat Chance is resurrected. Although mostly played by two strays from Joe Strummer's Mescaleros, inevitably it resembles a more spartan, less overtly northern version of the Heaton-sung section of his band's canon. Had it simply been a Beautiful South album, eyelids would have remained resolutely unraised. But Heaton's unwillingness to experiment on what is a side project renders Fat Chance inherently pointless. Here are duets with three separate women; wordy meditations dismantling blues cliches (The Real Blues); his trademark passive-aggressive masculinity on Man's World and a wonderfully observed dissection of the minutiae of relationships on 10 Lessons in Love. All well and good, but Fat Chance is still more Missed Chance.
Paul Heaton: Fat Chance
John Aizlewood is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and author. He has two columns in the Sunday Times: Sport On TV and Planet Football.