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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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The problem with Jordan the Comeback is that everything Prefab Sprout ever does again will be measured against it. But Andromeda Heights is best appreciated within its own lofty context and starry themes. Like all the Sprout's offerings the gems on this album are the tunes that you don't notice on your first listen but which subsequently grow on you. Electric Guitars and A Prisoner of the Past may have attracted the airplay but listen to Steal Your Thunder or Weightless to discover the essence of this album. Paddy McAloon's lyrical mastery and composition will never disappoint and Andromeda Heights is no exception. No, they have not surpassed Jordan on this occasion but as you begin to uncover the many musical layers in this offering you realise just how close they come.
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on 16 November 2005
You need to be in the mood for this album, but is certainly one of the best. At first it seems too schmaltzy, all surface; tracks such as Electric Guitars, Prisoner of the Past and Love is the Fifth Horseman surface early on as Sprout classics. The melodies, arrangements and Paddy's voice are gorgeous.
There is a wonderful use of flutes and saxaphone on many tracks.
You can hear the American influence; certainly Bacharach, but I'm even reminded of Donal Fagan.
Swans is probably the weakest and most lyrically pedestrian of the tracks. I think he mentions "stars" in over half the tracks, but maybe the album title allows for that (he's got a thing about stars I think).
It twins well with Jordan, but I think the former has the edge.
As a Sprouts fan I actually find the earlier albums (up to Langley Park) weaken towards the end after sparkling beginnings. This is more consistent but not as obvious.
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on 22 January 2003
I bought this album many moons ago off the back of some great reviews, had a listen and shelved it as not for me at the time. I have recently come back to it and after a few more listens, well, what a difference!
As a big Sprout fan (only the musical variety mind), I rate 'Steve McQueen' as top three material alongside the Oscar Peterson Trio's 'Night Train' and '1984' by Van Halen, all incredibly well-crafted albums. However, the one thing that is different about this PS album to all others before it, is that Paddy built his own high-end studio at home before working on it (the album & studio share the name Andromeda Heights), and doesn't this new-found proximity show in the detail.
From the opening number, the easy rising tide of 'Electric Guitars', through to that wonderful sax part on 'Life's a Miracle' to the 'Ice Maiden'-esque 'Anne Marie' and on to an end of the evening, slow dance finish with the title track, this album has had care and attention lavished upon it by one of Britain's best kept secrets. Time is the key to this record, stick with it and it pays you back in spades with listening pleasures rarely experienced - McAloon works from a set of rules no-one else was given. And sometimes that's just about perfect.
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on 29 January 2000
I am a 49 year old truck driver (No I do not like C&W) and I stumbled across this C.D. by accident. However, I was pleased I did, as it is wonderful. The originality of every track and the arrangements of them add to the pleasure, as you don't know what's coming next. The lead singers (Paddy McAloon & Wendy Smith) have a mystical quality that enhance the whole album. I defy anyone to tell me that they are not enchanted by track 6 "Who ever you are". Maybe the band will not appreciate some "old Fart" giving them a reveiw, but I loved it and so will you, what ever your age.
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on 15 August 2005
I'm a big fan of the Sprouts but when I first bought this album, years and years ago, I really detested it. I felt betrayed. There didn't seem to be one decent track on the entire piece of plastic, so it lay at the back of my collection gathering dust. I never entirely forgot it though. There's just something patently absurd in the thought that the sprouts could produce a totally rubbish album. Now and again I'd dig it out and give it a whirl. Very slowly (and I mean very, very, very slowly) odd bits began to filter through, slowly infecting the rest of the album with merit. I'm not sure what happened, (simple magic perhaps) but times change, attitudes shift, tastes mellow, ears evolve, expectations diminish, predjudice disipates - eventually, the album's true genius did materialize. Hopefully it will happen more quickly for you than it did for me, but if it doesn't...persevere.
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on 29 October 2012
On first hearing you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was a collection of pessimistic songs but in actual fact the recurring message is that life and love have more to offer than you ever imagined. Sure the balance of songs leans more towards the downbeat but the message is loud and clear and I think it's fair to say that this is probably the most rounded album Paddy ever wrote. It's full of hooks you could hang your hat on and it doesn't take long for the melodies to grab hold of you and hug you like old friends. Worth the money for the title track alone.
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on 4 May 2001
If albums were bought on merit alone this one should rank in the top 10. Lyrically Paddy has managed to create a seemingly never ending stream of highly polished songs, beatty, moody, dark, deep, poppy there is no end to this bands talent. The delivery is as always lush, smooth and very refined. A 'Prisoner of the past' would be perfect as track 1 with its announcing intro reminiscent of big band sounds (don't worry no brass band music here!!) whilst'Anne Marie' fills the room with twinkly sounds accompanied by floaty vocals and Paddy's crooning followed by well fitted strings - superb. However, Paddy's song-writing talents are best excercised through the almost progressive-rock track 'The fifth horseman'. Don't listen to people when they say this album does not rival Jordan - I believe this album is better but does come to an end too quickly - as they say time flies when you're havng fun!!!
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on 26 June 2013
I have 5 Prefab Sprout albums so far (OK, I know to do some catching up to do) and although I love 'Steve MacQueen' I have to say this is my absolute fave. Sophisticated, elegant, silky, beautifully crafted and with the best set of lyrics I've heard on a Sprout album (I'd love to put Paddy Mc Allon and Lloyd Cole in a room and see what they could come up with!). Too quiet for some? Maybe. It rewards so much with repeated plays, who cares?!
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on 13 August 2011
Paddy McAloon has always written intelligent and beautifully crafted songs, but this album is so much lusher, sweeter and dreamier than previous accomplishments. Paddy has dealt with life's cruel knocks not with bitterness nor cynicism but a gentle acceptance and reversion to purer thoughts and astral escapism.
The arrangement of the CD is in perfect keeping with the lyrics, with saxaphone and twinkling keyboards to the fore. The pace is slow and deliberate, the songs drifting in perfect symmetry like....well, the cosmos.
The possible exception to the uniformity of the album is 'A Prisoner of the Past', which is ballsier and has a stand-alone quality, and may have been better-placed as the CD's opener. The weakest song, lyrically, is 'The Mystery of Love', but it's saved from insipid schmaltz by the delightful arrangement. My personal favourite is the lovely 'Swans', followed by the ethereal 'Weightless'.
Paddy went on to record the mixed bag that is 'The Gunman', followed by the magnificent 'I Trawl the Megahertz' and 'Music'. If you like 'Andromeda Heights' you'll certainly like 'Music' - a very similarly textured record, with possibly even better songs but not such good arrangements.
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Although not the most successful sprout oozes beautiful, perfectly produced epics with every track!

every song is full of beauty and innocence..paddy excels himself! yes it doesnt reach out with any hit singles on the first listen but its a catchy album - beautifully written, sung and produced!

not a bad song on here..."swans" is achingly beautiful..."fifth horseman" catchy and should have been a single..."electric guitars" stunning pop! the rest as just as good!
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