Prefab Sprout
Swoon


4.0
excellent

Review

by robertsona STAFF
September 4th, 2017 | 20 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist


Like the Roger Waters of The Wall or the Kevin Shields of Loveless, the Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout’s 1984 debut, Swoon, functions as a dominating presence where he is heard and where he isn’t, a sort of mythical figure for the auteur theorists of pop and rock music to fawn over. Prefab Sprout may be at this point composed of three people--McAloon, his brother Martin, and Wendy Smith, with Graham Lant helping out on drums--but they are all undeniably made to speak Paddy’s language, to bequeath to sound and lyric its unequivocal expression of Paddy’s personality. A reversal of Hobbes’ famous political formulation that “A Multitude of men, are made One Person, when they are by one man, or one Person, Represented,” Swoon is the sound of one man represented in his spiritual integrity through a multitude of sounds: synth sweeps, acoustic guitar strums, drab snare hits.

The compressed, flat production of Swoon, which would be padded out with thicker background vocals and synths for Steve McQueen and Langley Park and then blown up into Technicolor for Jordan: The Comeback, may not present the most pleasing portrait of the artist in this band’s career. But the unerringly complex songwriting--try out the basslines on the opening duo of tracks--both presents a foil for the brittleness of the instrumentation and provides one of the most convincing configurations of a flitting mind in pop history.

So too does Paddy McAloon operate in invigorating contrasts lyrically, his clever tongue always threatening to tip over into douchiness, and explicitly doing so on the waltzable “Cruel” (“Don't call me possessive, but God if he's smoochin' with you!”). The brilliant dramatic coup of Swoon, from the insistent strums of “Don’t Sing” to the breathtaking recapitulation of the final track, is almost Kanye-like in its execution: the grossness of the personality on display is matched only by the vividness of its depiction.

No song on Swoon presents quite the same image of Paddy McAloon, and yet no instance feels false. Astonishingly for a debut, the album plays as a continuous stripping away of defenses. Somewhere within the sinuous bridge of “Elegance,” even the album’s frail sound begins to conceptually conform with McAloon’s woeful play at absolute sovereignty. An act of total vulnerability, Swoon urges its listeners through successive sketches of subjection to ultimately arrive not at revelation, but at an immeasurable void.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2017


15610 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretty funny that this shows up as a user review by STAFF

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2017


15848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wait so does this mean I have to do Jordan now? (cause it's happening)

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robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2017


15610 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I could try slamming jordan but I feel like I have maybe 85% of the passion for that album as others do. wrote this really quick but I'm at school and classes haven't started yet so i'm BOARD

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2017


15848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been thinking up ideas for it so I will definitely get something done, especially since it is the closest thing they ever did to a concept album, even if its three mini-suites and a fourth of actual songs.

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2017


15848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

However, I'd be interested in your take of Protest Songs or Crimson/Red

foxblood
September 5th 2017


7591 Comments


great band

brainmelter
September 5th 2017


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

always a nice read, g h o s t pos

Digging: Outre - Ghost Chants

Pajolero
September 5th 2017


924 Comments


Band is underrated as fuck

BlushfulHippocrene
September 5th 2017


2069 Comments


Listening to this now, and it's so great. Fantastic review, mate, you're one of the best.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2017


55392 Comments


hey it's robertsona, and foxblood!

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Arcade
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2017


8502 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

probably one of the weaker prefab albums but i do love "Cruel"

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Gyromania
September 6th 2017


23801 Comments


Nice review, user ;D

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2017


15848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

okay



i've come around to this

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2017


15848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@six jam this

sixdegrees
December 18th 2017


2376 Comments


im not convinced

Digging: Angrywank - Frylock's Revenge

sixdegrees
December 18th 2017


2376 Comments


not even a robertsona review could do it for me tbh

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2017


15848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you never try



why must you fail before you begin

sixdegrees
December 18th 2017


2376 Comments


my time is extremely valuable what can i say

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2017


15848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you cannot value time if you can't value yourself first and foremost

sixdegrees
December 18th 2017


2376 Comments


ive seen this evangelion episode I think



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