Friday, November 22, 2013

'Crimson/Red' by Prefab Sprout

22 November 2013

I've always had a soft spot for Prefab Sprout, the 1980s band that gave us 'Faron Young', 'When Love Breaks Down' and 'The King of Rock 'n' Roll'. The new Prefab Sprout album 'Crimson/Red' could be described as completely stripped down. Frontman Paddy McAloon has now dispensed with all the other members of the band and plays all the instruments himself. And yet it still sounds exactly the same – distinctive, melancholic, symphonic pop that could have come from 1988, whilst simultaneously sounding refreshingly, inventively new. All the more remarkable when you learn that McAloon now has impaired hearing and vision. 'Crimson/Red' is a classic Prefab Sprout album – catchy, beautiful, poignant and clever. Caroline Sullivan's review in The Guardian called it “a kind of truculent, Geordie Pet Sounds”. I've been struck by the similarities to another of my favourite 1980s bands The Blue Nile and the influence both may have had on The Divine Comedy (reviewed here in September 2005, July 2006 and June 2010).

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