Über The Housemartins
Beloved in their native Britain, the Housemartins were radio and TV staples throughout their short-lived recording career, which encompassed two proper studio albums and a slew of B-sides. Musically, the band combined the indie guitar pop of the Smiths with a surprising feel for American gospel and soul (which often came out in their cover songs and a cappella B-sides). Stylistically, the band possessed more than a touch of the cheeky, subversive Northern humor of the Beatles and the "just one of the lads" retro aesthetic of Madness. Deemed too English and political for American audiences, the Housemartins did have two songs that earned heavy rotation on U.S. college and alternative radio: "Happy Hour" and "Five Get Overexcited." Band member Paul Cook went on to become Fatboy Slim, while lead vocalist Paul Heaton formed the Beautiful South, another fine pop band that received but did not deserve the dreaded "too English for America" tag.