Reason #228: Swoon

swoonPrefab Sprout is one of my all time favorite bands, but I absolutely hate their name. It’s one of those band names that just sounds pretentious, stand-offish and just plain dumb. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, it sounds as if one of those random band name generators came up with it.

Thank God Paddy McAloon is a genius song writer because the name ain’t doing him any favors. Swoon, PS’s debut, is a tad rough, and more self conscious than those that would follow, but it is still a fascinating document of the birth of one of the best bands of the 1980’s. Swoon is an unusual record, the production about as far removed from what Thomas  Dolby did with the follow up, Steve McQueen. It’s quite rough and tumble, and Paddy is a little awkward with his delivery here. The bones of the songs are good, however, and the melodies, while quite odd, are still terrific. It’s a quirky piece of sophisticated jazz/pop and one of the weirder albums in my collection.

McAloon is a master of treading that razor line between shmaltz and genuine sentiment, pretension and intelligence, and here he succeeds more often than he fails. I would not recommend one start here if new to PS, but it’s a worthy debut from a band that would become great.