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Four things missing...
on 22 September 2009
It's great to get a new LP from Prefab Sprout. It's even better to get one that is better than 'The Gunman' but it's not really a Prefab LP - it's a set of well produced Paddy McAloon demoes. Or at least, it might as well be.
Paddy's brilliant solo LP 'I Trawl The Megahertz' was one of the musical highlights of the past decade; strange, affecting and beautiful, it had been recorded by Paddy on computer and then arranged for strings, guitar and occasional vocals. This time it seems as if the process has stopped at the computer stage.
No other members of the band have been involved (they've been dropping by the way for years) but now it's Paddy and his computer only. That's not to say that 'Let's Change the World With Music' sounds like Kraftwerk (although wouldn't that be intersting?!), here the arrangements are for piano, string backing, drums and bass - all programmed. Thus, these excellent songs fall short through the lack of Martin McAloon's sweetly funky, upfront bass, Neil Conti's ever-wonderful drumming and the odd but essential breathy backing vocals of Wendy Smith.
It is only fair to say that Paddy's singing is as good as ever, even reaching the urgent heights of 'Swoon' at times and the songs themselves are excellent - think 'Langley Park' meets the last part of 'Jordan'. It sweeps, it swoons, it carries you away but it's still all a bit synthetic.
So, three stars for the songs and the singing but two off for the lack of human involvement.