Prefab Sprout: Classic Or Dud

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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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

He kind of looks like Jess now.

N. (nickdastoor), Thursday, 11 March 2004 22:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

does jess read every thread? cos...

cozen (Cozen), Thursday, 11 March 2004 22:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i'm with David, classic.

eleki-san (eleki-san), Friday, 12 March 2004 11:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Swans was from Zorro The Fox apparently

mms (mms), Friday, 12 March 2004 12:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I am touched by N's new touchiness.

the bellefox, Friday, 12 March 2004 13:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I am not touchy.

N. (nickdastoor), Friday, 12 March 2004 14:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Are you feely?

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Friday, 12 March 2004 14:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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

the bellefox, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 12:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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

the bluefox, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 12:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Like the Go-Betweens!!

the bellefox, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 14:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I have not counted them.

the junefox, Thursday, 17 June 2004 07:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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

AaronHz (AaronHz), Thursday, 17 June 2004 08:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"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?"

etc.

classic-o no fckng danger.

piscesboy, Thursday, 17 June 2004 08:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
Godfuckingdammit--

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

and then about 2/3rds of the way through it Paddy comes in with one of the most beautiful songs he has ever written "I'm 45". heartbreaking.

jed_ (jed), Saturday, 21 August 2004 12:01 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"I'm 49" it's actually called.

jed_ (jed), Saturday, 21 August 2004 12:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Is the record out?

the bellefox, Sunday, 22 August 2004 10:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I have been listening to 'Cars & Girls', the song. JtN gave it to me, a while ago.

It has impressed me anew. I like the opening drum sound; I'm OK with the pop tune sound that follows. I like the expanse of the verses. The lyrics impress me - 'Will heaven wait / All heavenly'? And teh whole driving as life metaphor is very well extended.

I once said to JtN that it was unfair to write an attack on the Boss. But JtN immediately pointed out that PMacAloon was singing 'Bruce's thoughts / pretty streamers / guess this world needs its dreamers / may they never wake up' -- and now I hear the generosity, from one songwriter to another.

the bellefox, Friday, 24 September 2004 15:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I do not write 'teh' deliberately.

the bossfox, Friday, 24 September 2004 15:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
Does anyone know what's happened to the Prefab Sprout website?

The old address http://www.prefabsprout.com/ isn't working.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Monday, 11 October 2004 07:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Apparently, Paddy is no longer working with Kitchenware, who owned the website.

In other news: has anyone heard Lisa Stansfield's Trevor Horn-produced version of 'When Love Breaks Down' (with specially commissioned from Paddy Mac extra verse)?

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Monday, 11 October 2004 10:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

wtf! off to slsk i go...

pete b. (pete b.), Monday, 11 October 2004 10:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
Anyway...Paddy's eyes are ok now.

Ego, Friday, 7 January 2005 01:22 (twelve years ago) Permalink

people should explain themselves when they grow beards

a but (brimstead), Saturday, 4 March 2017 01:26 (nine months ago) Permalink

LOL Tom Scharpling used to do a segment where he adjudicated whether bearded callers had "earned their beard"

Iago Galdston, Saturday, 4 March 2017 02:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

don't know if this has already been posted, but

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/88/da/a9/88daa9e7f3be063d3b7f6b3bf333575b.jpg

soref, Saturday, 4 March 2017 11:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

lol

My guess is it's the public expression of a self perceived sea change of identity.

calstars, Saturday, 4 March 2017 12:59 (nine months ago) Permalink

Or a way to not be recognized in public by his fans who I'd guess to be somewhat obsessive

calstars, Saturday, 4 March 2017 13:02 (nine months ago) Permalink

Or a plea for attention but that doesn't seem to be his style.

calstars, Saturday, 4 March 2017 13:17 (nine months ago) Permalink

thanks, Soref--perfect

Iago Galdston, Sunday, 5 March 2017 23:52 (nine months ago) Permalink

goddamn his voice sounds great in that new video

flappy bird, Monday, 6 March 2017 01:56 (nine months ago) Permalink


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