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  • Swoon
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4.3 out of 5 stars
20
Swoon
Format: Audio CD|Change
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 December 2015
Prefab Sprout's debut album delivers a fascinating swirl of different musical styles, most of which are quite inspired whilst others, although interesting, aren't quite so immediate. Paddy McAloon's superior songwriting skills are best demonstrated on the likes of 'Don't Sing', 'Green Isaac', 'Cruel', 'Couldn't Bear To Be Special', 'Ghost Town Blues' and 'Elegance' and, although I can't guarantee that this collection of songs will be to everybody's taste, Swoon is an LP which I found I grew to appreciate more on repeated listens.
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on 26 August 2017
Loved this back in the day and loved rediscovering it. Unfortunately the mastering is a bit feeble and it sounds too quiet and anaemic, but this was a great debut to announce the genius of Paddy Joe to the world. If you like Sprout and don't have it, buy it! Cruel was one of the very best songs of the 80s, but all the songs are worth checking out here, e.g. Green Isaac.
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on 6 May 2014
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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on 26 October 2017
All the signs of great things to come, especially on the second half of the album
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on 3 March 2016
Great service great akbum
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on 21 March 2002
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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on 10 December 2015
I loved this album when it came out - everything was perfect, even down to the liner notes and gatefold sleeve: "that's Swoon."
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on 26 June 2003
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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on 3 October 2000
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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on 9 June 2010
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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