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High on the list of impossible things
on 27 August 2017
On paper this might seem unlikely to be a classic album: Prefab Sprout have been around for a long time now, and despite some consistently solid albums (I do like "Andromeda Heights"), you might have thought that Paddy McAloon's finest days were behind him, back in the heady days of "Steve McQueen" and "Swoon". This one's even better, though. No, really.
By all accounts, the album was compiled and recorded at white-hot speed, without much time for revision or reconsideration, and maybe that was the secret. Whatever: something clearly went very right.
Almost every song is a stone-cold classic. Wryly funny opener 'The best jewel thief in the world' is a typically offbeat and witty love song; 'List of Impossible Things' is in the same vein - heady stuff. 'Adolescence' is an unexpectedly tender paean to teenagerhood; then there's the simple but effective 'Grief built the Taj Mahal' (the title tells you everything you need to know).
'Devil came a Calling' is both funny and unsettling: 'he showed me some papers; he said that they were signed. My memory is hazy: I'm sure that I declined...'
I won't attempt to describe the 4 minutes 37 seconds of sunshine that is 'Billy' - if you don't know it yet, what are you waiting for?
I won't go through the last four track-by-track, but I do have to mention 'The Old Magician': a cheap vaudeville act as a sort of Everyman for the ageing human being. Short but devastating (and in sneaky 7/4 time too!).
Definitely my favourite album of 2013.