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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best or the worst?
I rushed out and bought this album on vinyl back in 1985 after hearing "Appetite" on MTV late one evening. (Yes, I know that's on Steve McQueen, but Swoon was the only Sprout album the record shop had in stock).
It soon became one of my favourite albums/music of all time (up there with Elvis Costello's Spike, Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Gentle Giant's Power and...
Published on 26 Jun 2003 by richtrophicherbs

versus
3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry all - I've tried and tried (and tried) - but I don't get it
I really love some of the later Prefab Sprout stuff, especially Jordan, and having read all of the reviews (their masterpiece etc) I bought this. However, other than the quite exceptional Cruel, I can't get to grips with any of the songs - they irritate me and by the end of a rather short record I'm bored to tears. More doze than swoon I'm afraid.

If, as one of...
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by Mr. C. M. Hammond


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best or the worst?, 26 Jun 2003
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
I rushed out and bought this album on vinyl back in 1985 after hearing "Appetite" on MTV late one evening. (Yes, I know that's on Steve McQueen, but Swoon was the only Sprout album the record shop had in stock).
It soon became one of my favourite albums/music of all time (up there with Elvis Costello's Spike, Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Gentle Giant's Power and the Glory, Bartok string quartets and anything by Steely Dan - and, er, yes, Steve McQueen).
It's the one I play just as much if not more.
I read somewhere that Paddy hates it and would like to withdraw all copies or replace them with new recordings of the songs.
Paddy, if you're reading this, I knew you were a nutter but perhaps they should change your medication ;-).
Steve McQueen is the more "beautiful" and lavishly produced of the two and "When love breaks down" is possibly the greatest song since John Dowland's "I saw my lady weep" (along with "Couldn't bear to be special").
But:
for sheer originality, imagination, weirdness, insights that hurt, and, in spades, the grit that is sadly lacking from post-protest-songs sprout this is the one to go for.
I am a sprout completist, and do not regret buying any of the albums, despite some disappointments when it got too lush, but this one is the essential mr hyde to steve mcqueen's dr jekyll.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex but all the more rewarding, 21 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
This album is chock full of complex song structures that perhaps initially seem too clever by half. However, if you are prepared to put the effort in you are richly rewarded with an album that seems to come out of nowhere. What are the precedents? People make references to Steely Dan but I can't see it. This is erudite complex music for the head and the heart. Some years ago I had the good fortune to work briefly alongside this band and I opined that 'Swoon' was the best thing they had ever done. "Yes" said Martin "but how often do you listen to it"? At the time I thought he had a point - 'Steve McQueen' is the one you play.
Now 17 years later I realise I was right - 'Swoon' is genius the like of which rarely comes along. Take the opportunity, buy it and yes - you will always be coming back to play it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debut album of angular poetry from Newcastle popsmiths, 3 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
This band's second album, "Steve McQueen", is generally ackowledged by critics to be their best, but on my more obtuse days, I don a black poloneck, read some Graham Greene and pronounce "Swoon" to be its superior. The opening track is a rather aimless wander through a desert landscape with jangly guitars and contrived rhymes, but from there on in, this is the strangest, most perfect pop music you will ever hear. Swoon sounds like it was recorded in someone's broom cupboard (at one point, a basketball bounced on the floor becomes the beat), but Paddy McAloon's oblique lyrics and sudden shifts in pace, key and mood are never less than gripping. "Cruel" perfectly dissects male vanity and jealousy: "The world should be free, but don't you go following suit", "Elegance" addresses class stereotypes, and the haunting ballad "I Couldn't Bear To Be Special" the fear of emotional commitment: "So, don't look at me that way, Of course it gives me pride, But I can't take on the risk of Letting down the sweet, sweet side". Later, McAloon would try to become Paul McCartney, his lyrics increasingly day-glo. Here, he proves that the devil has all the best tunes - buy this album and wonder anew every time you hear it.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tortuous but Charming, 3 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
A murky but beautiful concoction, Swoon is really difficult to get to know, but well worth the effort. It appeared out of nowhere, sounding like an obsessive fragment of some lost tradition - apparently McAloon spent years in his bedroom polishing everything up way past boredom, and ended up with a record of microscopic shifts, changes and observational ticks which somehow wove together in a bizarre narrative.
The song structures are very odd, and much less predictable than his later poppier efforts. Instead of classic verse-chorus-verse they seem to bring you round in an ever-decreasing orbit, and you keep meeting familiar musical figures, then it disintegrates into a different shape. At first this is very irritating, but later takes on this magical charm. You don't so much listen to this album as navigate your way through it! Most songs have 'too many bits', but you get used to it.
McAloon's vocal mannerisms veer between the opposites of an almost excruciating lack of self-consciousness and painfully shy introspection. He sings like someone forcing a sound for his own scrutiny and never really lets rip naturally. Trying his best to emote freely - "bo, bo-bee" - he only traps himself with 6th Form intellect, Jodrell Bank, and "four good A'level passes". What else can you say about a song which hero-worships chess master Bobby Fischer?
A very masculine record, Swoon substitutes restless intellectualising for real emotion, but every now and then McAloon hits a bullseye. Men the world over will pause and sigh for a moment each time they hear "Cruel", an assembly of the most perfect couplets in songwriting "But I Don't know how to describe the modern rose, When I can't refer to her shape against her clothes". We've all been there!
An anthem for the middle classes, Swoon's biggest achievement was to make romance of the real lives that most people really had back then. From a time when the united youth against Thatcher disowned its middle class identity whilst Dad drove them back to Uni, Swoon was the secret favourite, today it sounds like a real classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the indie/art rock debut to top them all, 9 Jun 2010
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
From the North East of England, this trio of singer/songwriter/pianist/guitarist Paddy McAloon, brother and bassist Martin, and girlfriend & singer Wendy Smith deliver the indie/art rock debut to top them all. Its full of quirky, old school, music hall, jazzy, acoustic-based songs that evoke Cole Porter, with unique, idiosyncratic lyrics a personal take on classic subjects like death, sex, and religion. Often booked based lyrically, breezy opener "Don't Sing" is based on Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory while Ghost Town Blues is inspired by Hardy's The Trumpet Major. I know you see, because I interviewed paddy and asked him everything I could about this wonderful record. Highlights include graceful piano ballad "Cruel", the geek homage "Technique", the chess inspired Cue Fanfare and the quiet/loud Green Isaac. Genius.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great bands have their own unique voice - a great album If you have never heard it how lucky you are - that pleasure is ahead of, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
When I first heard this album it was clear the Prefab Sprout sounded like no other band and that it marked the emergence, in Paddy McAloon, of a major song writing talent. The multiple albums that followed justified this view and built on the sound but nothing quite matched the impact of Swoon, the first album. It is in many ways the least immediate of the recordings but as with many other records, immediate impact and longevity are not happy bed fellows. This album 30 years later more than stands the test of time. If you have never heard it how lucky you are - that pleasure is ahead of you.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars swoon, 19 Dec 2009
This review is from: Swoon (MP3 Download)
i fell in love with this album in 1984, on about the 5th listen. The "sprout" did some mighty fine things later but never anything better and face it people there is not a better song ever written than "Cruel". As 2009 becomes 2010 it is never a better time to remember just how exciting and challenging music can be. If you love the X factor you will hate this. Which is a shame....for you
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the sprouts marmite album, 9 Dec 2009
By 
Peter Ward (market harborough, leics.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
This is, as mentioned in other reviews, an album that takes time to get to know.But on that play that finally bites you,is worth all the time and frustration.I rate this as easily the best prefab sprout album and even, may i say it, one of the top ten debut albums of all time. Up there with 'the stone roses', oasis'definitely maybe' and the strokes'is this it'. Hard to believe, i know, but the album flows with beauty and grace. Paddy McAloon's lyrics just add the the superb feeling of the work,especially on elegance and couldn't bear to be special.Like with a good red wine, give it time to breathe, then savour the delights at your leisure and feel that glow of contentment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I know all the words, 28 Oct 2009
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S. Dyer (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
I grew up listening to this album, bought it aged 16 or 17 on cassette, when it first came out in 83/84 (memory lacking). Me and my mates soon set about celebrating its quirkyness and difference by learning all the words and having a Swoon-fest in Nick's front room. Magic.

I believe you have to know all the words to this album to call yourself a true sprout fan. If you haven't got it, buy it and start practising :o)
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paddy's very best, 7 Nov 2007
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This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
'Swoon' is the one Prefab Sprout album you need in your collection. Everything else by Paddy is tosh. All the tunes are crafted, vital and unique. 'Steve McQueen' is a poor second cousin in comparison. In 1982/3 when Kitchenware put out the first indie singles by Prefab 'Lions in my own garden' etc and Swoon was about to come out, I remember reading how Paddy had written 5 or more albums ready to record which was very exciting well he used all the best songs for this the debut album. Swoon is fantastic and everybody should own a copy but I just wish paddy has delivered on his promises.
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Swoon
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