Prefab Sprout: Classic Or Dud

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (429 of them)
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 (sixteen 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 (sixteen years ago) link

"the punchY, rubber percussive sounds"

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

Judybats were TOTALLY classic

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

Any excuse to use this picture...

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 (sixteen years ago) link

He kind of looks like Jess now.

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

does jess read every thread? cos...

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

i'm with David, classic.

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

Swans was from Zorro The Fox apparently

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

I am touched by N's new touchiness.

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

I am not touchy.

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

Are you feely?

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

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

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

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

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

Like the Go-Betweens!!

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

I have not counted them.

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

ok i'll bite, I'm bored enough: Who's #1 & #2, IYO?

AaronHz (AaronHz), Thursday, 17 June 2004 08:53 (sixteen years ago) link

"you surely are a truly gifted kid, but youre only as good as the last great thing you did/ where've you been since then? did the schedule get you down?/ i hear you got a new girlfriend, how's your wife takin it?"


classic-o no fckng danger.

piscesboy, Thursday, 17 June 2004 08:55 (sixteen years ago) link

two months pass...

I came to this board about one month too late for this thread's last revival. (Yes, I am one of those dreaded "newbies" who have come to the ILM, much like the Visigoths came to Rome to sample the wine and women, only to have ruined it. Thank you! I'll be here all this week!)

In any event I let the drummer in my band check out Protest Songs and Jordan since he already had Two Wheels Good (ahem, 'Steve McQueen' there's my gaucheness again) and I sat down and listened to them last night and I cried because some mf'er stole my copy of Swoon a couple of months ago. So I give'em a classic. But I'm afraid to listen to anything after Jordan. Should I be scared?

righteousmaelstrom, Saturday, 21 August 2004 03:27 (sixteen years ago) link

So yer a newbie yeah? Well, that means *I* must finally be converted from a "newbie" to an "oldie". I've only been here since April, but I have remained faithful to my credit. Cheers, welcome, et al.

Prefab stuff is great. One day I'll get back round to them. Last I remember I was playing something new by them on the radio in the early 90's. I'll get back to them eventually.

Bimble (bimble), Saturday, 21 August 2004 06:25 (sixteen years ago) link

what's '...the megahertz' actually like? i don't mean how good is it, i mean what is it *like*? how does it go?

piscesboy, Saturday, 21 August 2004 07:45 (sixteen years ago) link

It's swoopy-stringed Gershwiny classicism with samples of people phoning up late night radio advice lines larded throughout. And yet it's really quite good! I was very confused to hear it used as background music on one of those "we make up young people to look like old people so they can discover just how miserable it is to be old" programs on Channel 4 last week.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Saturday, 21 August 2004 11:57 (sixteen years 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 year ago) link

acoustic version was also issued as a stand alone lp.

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

one month passes...

Variants of this pop up about once every 8 months when there's a news story about prefabricated something. JUST SAY NO.

— NicD (@Sproutology) September 1, 2019

omar little, Sunday, 1 September 2019 15:59 (one year ago) link

So is there a release date for the new album?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 2 September 2019 00:31 (one year ago) link

McAloon has also indicated his vaults are rather vast.

How vast?

“You can work it out by doing the maths,” he went on to say. “…if you write three albums a year, approximately, and you’ve been doing that for 30 years, then that’s where we are.

damn, I really hope Paddy has a Max Brod in his life iykwim

hoostanbank de reason lyrics mp4 hd video download (unregistered), Monday, 2 September 2019 05:22 (one year ago) link


flappy bird, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 22:49 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

Just started checking out the Swoon remaster on Spotify and it is sounding good, less like it was recorded through a wall. Bass! It's a bit odd - that thinness or tinniness was the fabric of the album, the contrast to everything later – but I am liking it.

woof, Tuesday, 1 October 2019 19:40 (eleven months ago) link

Anyone familiar with the protest songs record mentioned in that article? xp

one charm and one antiup quark (outdoor_miner), Tuesday, 1 October 2019 23:27 (eleven months ago) link

it was recorded after steve mcqueen but not released until after langley park. similar in sound to steve mcqueen but not quite as good. has the song life of surprises which is great.

mizzell, Wednesday, 2 October 2019 00:02 (eleven months ago) link

"Scarlet Nights" has become my favorite track off JORDAN at the moment. That understated key change in the final chorus is pure magic.

winters (josh), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 05:29 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

The kick / snare drum triplets on the Bobby Fischer section of Cue Fanfare

June Pointer’s Valentine’s Day Secret Admirer Note Author (calstars), Thursday, 14 November 2019 14:35 (ten months ago) link

three months pass...

You know, almost all of the songs on LCTWWM are excellent innit. I'm going to blame the arrangements for obscuring this state of affairs for a decade.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Thursday, 20 February 2020 00:37 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

In 1985 County Durham pop band Prefab Sprout sung about Moving the River on their highly acclaimed album Steve McQueen. But why are we bringing this up now, and what has it got to do with life in Stoke-on-Trent in 2020? Well, strap yourselves in...

— Stoke-on-Trent CC (@SoTCityCouncil) May 21, 2020

Dan Worsley, Saturday, 23 May 2020 17:10 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone.
Let's pretend that we're together, all alone.

ACABincalifornia (voodoo chili), Thursday, 9 July 2020 23:13 (two months ago) link

i want to hear the diplomats over a flip of "moving the river" so fucking bad. the horn ostinato over those chords is pure plush sonic luxury

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Thursday, 9 July 2020 23:34 (two months ago) link

Some absolute shockers of posts at the beginning of this thread. The Sprout were incredible.

does it look like i'm here (jon123), Friday, 10 July 2020 13:43 (two months ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.