PREFAB SPROUT - Swoon (1984) for Anvilscepe
Brit Pop, Pop Rock, Synth-pop
Paddy McAloon, Martin McAloon, Wendy Smith, Neil Conti
Drums - Graham Lant/ Engineer - Jon Anderson Turner/ Producer - David Brewis, Prefab Sprout
01 Don't Sing (3:51)
02 Cue Fanfare (4:04)
03 Green Isaac (I) (3:31)
04 Here On The Eerie (3:58)
05 Cruel (4:18)
06 Couldn't Bear To Be Special (3:44)
07 I Never Play Basketball Now (3:38)
08 Ghost Town Blues (3:19)
09 Elegance (3:44)
10 Technique (4:36)
11 Green Isaac (II) (1:25)
Links to download:
for track 11: http://www.mytempdir.com/1103693
"Some Prefab Sprout fanatics will admit it's difficult to single out one Sprout album as "the best". I mean, with most of their 80s output, like "Swoon", "Steve McQueen", "Protest Songs", "Jordan", I would find it almost impossible to say one is really better than another, even if tied to a chair with a gun at my temple, held by a big, smelly guy with sweaty palms and bad cigarette breath, finger on the trigger, threatening to blow my brains out unless I reveal my favorite Sprout record. They're all equally brilliant, but if faced with that life or death decision, I might say "Swoon".
You see, "Swoon" was songwriter/singer Paddy MacCloon in peak form. But, wait, it was their first album. How could he already achieve "peak form" status on a debut? To put it simply, the man's a genius. Any hardcore Sprout fan will tell you that. But upon dissecting and analyzing the contents of "Swoon", it becomes clear what makes it such an enduring, accomplished album.
First off, it's an album that grew on me. At first, expecting some breezy jazz-pop a la early Aztec Camera, I was a bit put off by some of the convoluted song structures, the cheezy drum-fills, the occasionally sappy yet still almost arrogantly delivered lyrics. But a few songs immediately attached themselves to my brain like sandburrs to bare feet. "Cruel", with its jazzy, sophisticated chord progressions, its spot on melodies, its bossa nova beat, and acute lyrics concerning a "liberal", "modern" guy coming to terms with the fact that he's just as helplessly jealous and possesive over his women as any other sap who's been kicked in the [bottom] by lust. One of the most finely crafted pop gems I've ever heard.
And then there's the airy sophistication of "Cure Fanfare", with its lush, gorgeous yet tensely strummed guitar, and its iron-fisted drumming, which gives a pretty song a unique edge of white-knuckled tension. Or the elegant built up of "Little Green Isaac", which starts off almost ballad-like, driven by a rich, jazzy keyboard part, then half way through, with a flick of the switch, the song shifts into overdrive and finishes out w/ enough energy to make you sweat even if you're just sitting there bobbing back and forth. And it's still as gorgeous as ever throughout.
Or the smokey, intimate atmosphere of "Couldn't Bear to be Special", or the infectiously catchy piano and pulverizing rhythmic work in "Ghost Town Blues" (the chorus of which boasts "Oh Ann - Gar-la-ah-ah-and, you can't call this heartbeat a man"), or the lush, gossamer synths, spot on melodies, and angsty tension of "Technique". With each listen, something new and utterly invigorating would reveal itself until I could sit through the whole damn album in a state of wide-eyed, melodic-pop bliss. And I'd listen to it again and again, thoughts of it distracting me from my work all day long, suffering long, unending hours until I could get home to give it another spin. I no longer cared about the stupid "bo-bee's" in "Couldn't Bear to be Special", or the fact that "I never play basketball now" has 20 different parts. The sheer genius of the melodies, the conviction of the words so greatly overshadowed the few flaws that it didn't matter anymore, and I was held permanently in the tight grip of Paddy's dreamy, melodic vision.
These songs were well thought out, lovingly and painstakingly well-crafted, and definitely withstand the ravages of time. It's like a unique combination of a subtle early 80s post-punk-pop atmosphere, early 80s jazz-pop (think EBTG, Aztec Camera), with some mid-Atlantic 70s AM radio, thrown in with a smidgeon of Steely Dan.
I could go on and on about each individual song, but for the sake of brevity, I'll just say that the writing is (w/ one exception) absolutely spot-on, top-notch. These tunes rival any pop master you can think of, be it Bacharach, B. Wilson, Lennon/McCartney, Morrissey/Marr, etc.... Sophisticated, gossamer pop, with enough rough edges, enough tension boiling beneath the surface, and 20 something angst thrown in to make it a truly deep, diverse and intelligent statement. To put it simply, it's too rough and bitter to sit comfortably with Sade, too melodic and complex to be branded merely pop or new wave, and too brilliant to be ignored.
Please, buy this if you haven't done so already.
"I have everything Prefab Sprout has recorded and Paddy McAloon is amazing in his songwriting and lyrics in Swoon. It is not my favorite but it shows the talent of Paddy, again a talent that for some reason was not given his due and still isnt being noticed as a major player in his work with Prefab Sprout, that's a shame. I believe everyone should have the complete Prefab Sprout library and Swoon has some stand out songs, like Cruel, Couldn't Bear To Be Special,Don't Sing,and Green Isaac (I)& (II). A must to complete the work of Paddy McAloon, Swoon."
This is a special post for Anvilscepe,next time im going to post the comlete Prefab discograpy with bio....
My next uploads will be for Darkmantra :)