Paddy McAloon is the greatest songwriter never to have gotten his due….As the main singer guitarist everything of Prefab Sprout, starting in the early 80’s, he has created seven albums of amazingly complex delicate but still extremely catchy music featuring some of the most literate lyrics to have ever been featured in a pop song.
Their masterpiece IMO is their second release STEVE MCQUEEN or as I got to know it by the American title TWO WHEELS GOOD….At his full songwriting peak, every song is a gem….few albums can boast to contain tracks like APPETITE, GOODBYE JOHNNY, WHEN THE ANGELS, MOVING THE RIVER, HALLELUJAH, BONNY much less one song as good as that.
The word “haunting” is what always comes to mind….The lyrics are fabulous as I’ve just mentioned but you don’t to reads them to feel the full effect of the subtle, niggling melodies that seem like a walk across the moors to a manor house where you encounter that which has broken your heart and made you a weaker person but never fails to tantalize you and drag you onwards.
Also the secret weapon on much of Prefab’s recordings was Wendy Smith who sang back-up….Her icy voice was produced in a way that it came across like a disembodied spirit popping in and out of the mix, an instrument in and of itself that set off the drama in the music and further enhanced a unique sound.
Some of my favorite Prefab songs....
The last song I REMEMBER THAT is from their third album and for me it makes time cease to have relevance as we sustain ourselves through memories only (if we must).