Prefab Sprout: Classic Or Dud

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Again, I wouldn't want to defend these specific instances. I'd agree that some of the quirkiness/archness is irritating and obtrusive. But in terms of liking the album overall it obviously didn't bother me so much.

ArfArf, Friday, 10 January 2003 15:33 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Revive - if only because, after years of unrequited like from both parties, they suddenly seem to be the band my mid-thirties were waiting for. 'Nightingales' just came on iTunes and it's like Heidegger rewritten by Dietz and Schwartz.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 18:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Goodness!

Dr. C (Dr. C), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 18:50 (fifteen years ago) link

I am also... touched at Dr C.'s precognitive typo throughout this thread... where he types PF instead of PS... repeatedly!

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 18:53 (fifteen years ago) link

I also think there is an unmatchable b-sides collection to be compiled here - 'Girl I'm Here' and 'The End of the Affair' (unbelievably, a couple of b-sides from different editions of the ok 'Electric Guitars' single) alone are worth the price of admission.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 19:02 (fifteen years ago) link

I found them to be CLASSIC until "Langley Park" which is unbelievably DUD. My little brother looooves them, go figure once again

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 19:14 (fifteen years ago) link

I must listen to the 2CD best of thing tonight to see if I like them yet. I sort of want to like PS.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 20:10 (fifteen years ago) link

I agree with Donna Brown's little brother!

And -- while I expect disagreement -- I think Dolby/Prefab (or Dolby/McAloon) was a genuinely great partnership. Yes, sometimes an otherwise lush production suffers from a synth patch too scrappy or anemic -- or conversely, a pad too thick and sludgy -- to serve its intended purpose. But Dolby had a knack for giving each track its own sonic vocabulary, and if you forgive the occasional lapse it's possible to get really caught up in the creativity of the arrangements of even the lesser songs -- the punch, rubbery percussive sounds in "Knock on Wood," the spacious acoustic and nicely timed delays on the backup singers in "I Remember That," the Gregorian chant/drone in "Michael," and so on.

Paul in Santa Cruz (Paul in Santa Cruz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 20:51 (fifteen years ago) link

"the punchY, rubber percussive sounds"

Paul in Santa Cruz (Paul in Santa Cruz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 21:16 (fifteen years ago) link

Anyone remember the song "Donna Summer" that came (only I think) with the double-single release of 'When Love Breaks Down"? God, that was wonderful. It also came with a different version of "Diana" that was on "Protest Songs" (my favourite Sprout LP I think)

LondonLee (LondonLee), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 21:43 (fifteen years ago) link

No, but I really liked that song "Spinning Belinda" that was on the Debut magazine/record combo and apparently no other Sprout record. Thanks, Paddy.

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 22:35 (fifteen years ago) link

I had forgotten all about Debut magazine. I had an issue that had Danse Society on it.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 22:54 (fifteen years ago) link

there are some great songs on Jordan, the Comeback too and that album hasn't been mentioned so far ( i dont think) Mercy is maybe his greatest song. "I'm 49" from I trawl the Megahertz is very beautiful too.

jed_ (jed), Thursday, 11 March 2004 02:12 (fifteen years ago) link

jordan is the best song. andromeda has been unfairly maligned in this subject too, it was a pretty classy comeback album. never heard the last one. i liked that andromeda was dedicated to a couple of carpenters. the judybats were like the american version of prefab sprout, they were classic as well.

keith m (keithmcl), Thursday, 11 March 2004 02:34 (fifteen years ago) link

Judybats were TOTALLY classic

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Thursday, 11 March 2004 02:45 (fifteen years ago) link

I like a few tracks on Andromeda Heights but it was a disappointment overall. I'm glad I didn't give up on it too quickly or I would have missed out on the glorious title track at the end -- glorious despite the ill-conceived instrumental verse.

(Anomie & Bonhomie is another album where you might well bail out early on an artist whose best years are probably behind him, but you'd miss the best track if you did.)

And yes, "Im 49" is beautiful. Depressing as hell, but beautiful.

Never heard of the Judybats -- in what ways are they similar? Sound? Quality of songwriting? Or...

Paul in Santa Cruz (Paul in Santa Cruz), Thursday, 11 March 2004 03:00 (fifteen years ago) link

Classic. I was just playing the first side of 'Two Wheels Good'/'Steve McQueen' today.

As for Elton's praising Noel Gallagher's lyrics, didn't Christgau once cite "You know I can't think straight no more" as a key to Bernie Taupin's state of mind?

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Thursday, 11 March 2004 04:34 (fifteen years ago) link

I think Andromeda Heights is fantastic! A much more "mature" sound than any of the other albums, but I wouldn't want to have to chose my favourite between that one, SWOON and Protest Songs.

The Gunman & Other Stories on the other hand was a disappointment.

I Trawl The Megahertz is.... interesting.... I'm not sure, haven't really made my mind up on that one yet. I've enjoyed it to the 2 or 3 times I've played it but I don't feel any great urge to keep going back to it like I did with Andromeda Heights.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 11 March 2004 10:34 (fifteen years ago) link

Swoon, McQueen, Langley Park, Protest Songs and Jordan infused my teenage life so that McAloon could never in the future put a foot wrong. Of course he did, but I've ignored it in the main. Ok, I haven't- Andormeda Heights, some great songs aside, is swamped by saxophone and slush, and Gunman just doesn't sparkle. Megahertz has a good six songs' worth of filler, but 'I'm 49''s perfect and the opener is touching, stitched together or not. That said, it does sound a bit like my American friend rambling 'meaningfully' over her ex-boyfriend's crappy noodling, but I try to shut that out.

Buffalo Stan, Thursday, 11 March 2004 16:19 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't know what Dolby and iTunes are.

re. lyrics, how about wanting to be the Fred Astaire of words?

I like PF.

the bluefox, Thursday, 11 March 2004 16:54 (fifteen years ago) link

Dolby = Thomas Dolby, who produced and played on Steve McQueen

iTunes = an antique jukebox in a cafe in North London that only plays PS and PF records

(possibly one of these is wrong)

zebedee (zebedee), Thursday, 11 March 2004 17:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Thomas Dolby also produced and performed on parts of Langley Park and all of Jordan

Paul in Santa Cruz (Paul in Santa Cruz), Thursday, 11 March 2004 19:45 (fifteen years ago) link

You know what? I quite like the idea of McAloon - this hyperliterate exquisite loner - gradually moving toward what, some might call, slush. Oddly, it's a sign of adventure. He desparately wants to write the 'Long and Winding Road' of his generation, and I think there's something weirdly admirable about his attempt to stifle his peculiar singularity in search of a standard. In a funny way, he's Jimmy Webb in reverse.

I also love what I have heard of the Megahertz record. It's brave and magnificent.

Does anyone know the state of Paddy M's eyesight now? And whether he is likely to release any of his mad folly concept lps or is ever more determined to explore the lonely furrow connecting the BBC world service and Berlioz?

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Thursday, 11 March 2004 21:07 (fifteen years ago) link

I'd like to switch my year-old vote to dud if I may. I couldn't even get through a third of Two Wheels Good or Jordan: The Come Back last time I tried. Though I still dig "Looking For Atlantis."

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 11 March 2004 21:32 (fifteen years ago) link

Any excuse to use this picture...

http://www.browningmcintosh.com/plocktonwest/paddy2000a.jpg

I don't think any of these supposed concept lp's (18 at the last count) exist anywhere other than in his head but it's nice to know that there may be a concept album about Zorro the Fox or Michael Jackson arriving sometime in the next 5 or 10 years.


Sadly he's shaved his beard off

Billy Dods (Billy Dods), Thursday, 11 March 2004 22:19 (fifteen years ago) link

He kind of looks like Jess now.

N. (nickdastoor), Thursday, 11 March 2004 22:22 (fifteen years ago) link

does jess read every thread? cos...

cozen (Cozen), Thursday, 11 March 2004 22:28 (fifteen years ago) link

Funnily enough, I think they do exist - ie the great lost PS concept lps - it's just he only wants them to come out after he's dead. It would be a typically McAloon touch.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Thursday, 11 March 2004 22:48 (fifteen years ago) link

I just want an acoustic Paddy album. Him and a guitar, his songs, no eurovision production. Errr -demos, I suppose. Think "Dublin" off Protest Songs.

Oh, and Classic, if only for Steve McQueen.

David Nolan (David N.), Friday, 12 March 2004 01:28 (fifteen years ago) link

i always think of prefab sprout when i listen to the judybats, they are a pop band from the southern US but they made the same sort of dramatic, polished, adult pop as prefab sprout. the singer was playing a role, much like paddy did in a lot of his songs, and the judybats singer was pretty fantastic. they aren't quite as polished as prefab and definitely more guitar based but i think they share a bit of the same shared collective consciousness musically and lyrically. maybe.

keith m (keithmcl), Friday, 12 March 2004 02:07 (fifteen years ago) link

Funnily enough, I think they do exist - ie the great lost PS concept lps - it's just he only wants them to come out after he's dead. It would be a typically McAloon touch.

hmm, i doubt this, in fact. If they did exist he would have released some "songs" rather than putting out "i trawl the megahertz". it seems to have more than a little of the Truman capote/answered prayers about it.

jed_ (jed), Friday, 12 March 2004 03:36 (fifteen years ago) link

"This is a man who records concept albums in his spare time, just as a hobby"

I am touched by JtN's new obsession.

Just thinking about the music to Bonny makes me a bit teary.

N. (nickdastoor), Friday, 12 March 2004 09:43 (fifteen years ago) link

I seem to recall the title "I Trawl The Megahertz" being mentioned in connection with one of these lost albums years ago....

Personally I think the albums do exist. I certainly want to think they do.

Probably not as completed, polished recordings; maybe not even as completed songs; but certainly as fragments of tunes and lyrics like bits of jigsaws; some may be just a couple of bits of sky that wouldn't mean anything to anyone other than Paddy; others may be substantially complete apart from a last couple of elusive missing pieces to be located and slotted into place.

I'm sure Thomas Dolby's mentioned mentioned that Paddy's got shelves and shelves and cupboards full of tapes - but again I suspect sifting through them all to sort out the useable fragments would be a dauntingly gargantuan task for anyone to undertake.

Maybe that's why Paddy hasn't done it himself.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Friday, 12 March 2004 09:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Just rebought Jordan after not having heard it for 10 years or more. Glad to say it totally stands up and is wonderful. Love most of the rest of their stuff too although The King Of Rock n Roll, their big hit I can do without. I never really grasped hold of the Gunman, it felt odd as though it wasn't a proper PS album. Seemed to disappear the moment it was released and I never see it in the shops anywhere. The version I have is a promo. Andromeda Heights has some lovely songs but as mentioned elsewhere suffers from saxamaphone overload.

As far as I know Paddy had an operation that fixed his sight problems so hopefully he's back to full vision and we'll get a new PS album.

mms (mms), Friday, 12 March 2004 10:04 (fifteen years ago) link

Nothing worthwhile to say but I think he actually looks kinda fantastic in that photo

Mr Mime (Andrew Thames), Friday, 12 March 2004 10:06 (fifteen years ago) link

A Megahertz preview article (in the Scotsman, I think) mentioned a 'new Prefab Sprout album later this year'. Which was, er, last year. It did seem a little fanciful.

I've heard tell of people who've listened to bits of 'Earth: The Story So Far' etc., which suggests some of these lost albums (or parts thereof) have been recorded. Also, bits of 'Zorro the Fox' are apparently on Andromeda Heights.

Buffalo Stan (Buffalo Stan), Friday, 12 March 2004 10:50 (fifteen years ago) link

i'm with David, classic.

eleki-san (eleki-san), Friday, 12 March 2004 11:59 (fifteen years ago) link

Swans was from Zorro The Fox apparently

mms (mms), Friday, 12 March 2004 12:36 (fifteen years ago) link

I am touched by N's new touchiness.

the bellefox, Friday, 12 March 2004 13:02 (fifteen years ago) link

I am not touchy.

N. (nickdastoor), Friday, 12 March 2004 14:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Are you feely?

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Friday, 12 March 2004 14:14 (fifteen years ago) link

I am not touchy

Have you spoken to A-ha about this?

Me I'm touchy
Touchy touchy you
Me I'm touchy and you know what to do

Rob Bolton (Rob Bolton), Friday, 12 March 2004 14:19 (fifteen years ago) link

two months pass...
Imagine: if Prefab Sprout had written, or recorded, 'Bachelor Kisses'!

the bellefox, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 12:57 (fifteen years ago) link

Except -- then, the Go-Betweens' output would be so much diminished in quality?

the bluefox, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 12:57 (fifteen years ago) link

I did, as I said I would, listen to the 2CD best-of back in March. My position remains the same - I like the *idea* of Paddy Mac, I want to like them, I occasionally think I *do* like them, then it turns out that I've lost interest and 5 tracks have gone by unnoticed.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 13:51 (fifteen years ago) link

Like the Go-Betweens!!

the bellefox, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 14:10 (fifteen years ago) link

What for you? Or for me?

I heard Spring Rain in a recd shop the other day and it sounded fucking excellent. I was prob wrong about the GBs, but it may be too late.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 15:47 (fifteen years ago) link

four weeks pass...
As a matter of interest, is anyone particularly attracted to or put off by the 412 chord-changes-per-song shtick ("Hallelujah" being an example)?

, Thursday, 17 June 2004 07:27 (fifteen years ago) link

I have not counted them.

the junefox, Thursday, 17 June 2004 07:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Ending a dj set by putting on "I trawl the megaherz" 20 minutes before closing time = classic!

And Prefab Sprout are the third best band ever.

Hanna (Hanna), Thursday, 17 June 2004 08:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Looks like that's back; hooray!

Tim, Wednesday, 20 February 2019 15:56 (four months ago) link

Your daddy loves you very much. He just doesn't want to live with us anymore.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Wednesday, 20 February 2019 23:37 (four months ago) link

four months pass...

vinyl reissues in september:

Prefab Sprout have announced vinyl reissues of three studio albums and one compilation. New pressings of their 1984 debut Swoon, 1988’s commercial breakthrough From Langley Park to Memphis, 1990’s double album Jordan: The Comeback, and 1992’s Life of Surprises: The Best of Prefab Sprout are all out September 27. A press statement notes that the packaging and remasters were overseen by band members Paddy and Martin McAloon. Pre-orders are available at their website.

Earlier this year, Paddy McAloon’s 2003 solo album I Trawl the Megahertz was reissued as a Prefab Sprout LP.

flappy bird, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:05 (one week ago) link

... i think i'm gonna need to buy jordan

american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:06 (one week ago) link

Interesting that they didn’t include Steve McQueen. I hope these stick around long enough for me to confirm the pressings are better than my originals.

brotherlovesdub, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 22:13 (one week ago) link

hope they fixed the glitch on life of surprises

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:31 (one week ago) link

What glitch?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 4 July 2019 02:18 (one week ago) link

sorry, i must be insane. i remember there being some weird glitch on a PS song, thought it was LoS, thought it was discussed on ilm as an error during mastering but re-listening i don't hear anything. apologies for derail

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Thursday, 4 July 2019 02:48 (one week ago) link

no, wait, it's there, around 3:38-41 on the word 'not' !

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Thursday, 4 July 2019 03:00 (one week ago) link

I've noticed that glitch too. Pretty weird oversight on their part, unless it was the only possible way for them to stitch it together. I hope that's even fixable at this point!

OneSecondBefore, Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:55 (one week ago) link

any news on femmes mythologiques?

Pagoda, Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:30 (one week ago) link

nothing beyond the planned release in September mentioned at the start of the year

ufo, Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:38 (one week ago) link

media is precious and fragile ... but despite the glitch LOS is still perfect

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:40 (one week ago) link

Trying to figure out why Steve McQueen (my fave of them, by far) was excluded, I found out there was a RSD release of 'Steve McQueen Acoustic'. Anyone heard it?

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:51 (one week ago) link

yeah, steve mcqueen is my favourite album of theirs :/

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:53 (one week ago) link

The Steve McQueen acoustic was all bonus tracks on the 2006 reissue iir

ufo, Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:55 (one week ago) link

Ah, thanks. The lack of fanfare everywhere made me think already it wasn't something new.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:57 (one week ago) link

love those acoustic versions.

Fizzles, Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:09 (one week ago) link

yes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6uTKJiD7iQ

Number None, Thursday, 4 July 2019 19:58 (one week ago) link

is there a rights issue with the label that put out Steve McQueen / Two Wheels Good?

flappy bird, Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:44 (one week ago) link

I got to know Steve McQueen via the 2006 reissue so those acoustic versions are as canonical as the originals for me. I think I actually like them better

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Sunday, 7 July 2019 08:22 (one week ago) link

the Steve McQueen Acoustic disc appears to be on spotify, along with 5 different issues of Steve McQueen (including one of Two Wheels Good), each with a different poorly scanned version of the album art

ufo, Sunday, 7 July 2019 08:32 (one week ago) link

acoustic version was also issued as a stand alone lp.
https://www.discogs.com/Prefab-Sprout-Steve-McQueen-Acoustic/release/13288548

mizzell, Sunday, 7 July 2019 14:13 (one week ago) link


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