Friday, November 8, 2013

No Longer 'Red' Over Price of New Prefab Sprout

Fans of Prefab Sprout here in America can close their jaws again. 'Crimson/Red' is no longer listed for $49 on Amazon. I was so distraught at the price upon its initial release that I bought it on Amazon UK and had it shipped to Seattle for what seemed like the fair price of $18... including shipping. Well, now I see you can get it for as low as $12, excluding shipping, on Amazon Marketplace. So, fence-sitters, it's time to catch up with Paddy McAloon.

After about a dozen listens I am ready to give 'Crimson/Red' a high grade. I admit I went into the album filled with angst. There seemed to be so much going against it. Although it says Prefab Sprout on the cover, this was actually a McAloon solo effort. He played every instrument. McAloon is 56 years old now and has had some health issues. More than a decade has come and gone since we have heard brand-new material. PR photos released around 'Crimson/Red' depicted a man that looked like the bridge dweller from "Three Billy Goats Gruff." Most of all, unlike Prefab Sprout's best albums, Thomas Dolby didn't man the controls.

As you will hear, my worries were unfounded. Despite McAloon's DIY approach, the album sounds great. A tip of the cap to Scottish engineer Calum Malcolm. If that name sounds familiar, it's because his name pops up all over records by a who's who of his fellow countrymen, including the Blue Nile, Deacon Blue, Orange Juice and Simple Minds. Not only is the production crisp, but McAloon's voice is as strong as it was in the mid-'80s. Sorry, no, I'm not comparing 'Crimson/Red' to 'Steve McQueen' by any stretch. Like that seminal album, however, if I can just get past the occasional over-the-top lyrics, I think I could be pulling this one off the shelf for years to come.

No hyperbole here, but you should listen for yourself. You can get a download of "The Songs of Danny Galway" for the price of an email address here. Check out the video for the first single and album opener "The Best Jewel Thief in the World" below. Finally, if you have the time, catch up with McAloon during an interview with the BBC last month.


Uncle E said...

OK, now I can order it! Been waiting for you to post a verdict. I was a little disappointed in Let's Change The World..., but have recently rediscovered Andromeda Heights, an album I used to dismiss but recently have trouble getting out of the player! Really under-appreciated, in my opinion. Maybe it was compared to Jordan a little too much, 'cause other than Steve McQueen nothing can even come close to that one!
Thanks for the post!

Echorich said...

Let's Changed The World With Music was an album that found me a just the right time in my life in 2009. Lots of personal transitions occured and Paddy provided an uplifting soundtrack/path for me. It will forever hold a very special place in my life.

I plunked down for the full monty on Crimson/Red with nothing but high expectations. Boy have I been rewarded!! ...Jewel simply remarkable. It show's PMc has lost none of his wit, sarcasm or pop songwriting prowess! Grief Built The Taj Mahal is nothing less than gorgeous. The urgent, stuttering Adolescence captures the quicked heartbeats of young, impossible love.
Dreamer should be a worldwide smash - it lulls you and infects you with its beauty. The Old Magician may have some autobiographical references in its story, but it's ultimately uplifting.
The best thing I can say about Crimson/Red is that it doesn't remind me of Prefab Sprouts past glories, it add to them.
I think Callum Malcolm has brought a sensitivity to Crimson/Red that fits perfectly with what Paddy was looking to achieve. A late entry in the running for best releases of 2013 it will certainly be up there among my favorites for the year.

Brian said...

High praise, Echorich. I know how many albums your ears hear in a typical year. So happy you liked it.

Brian said...

E, I hope you like it. I thought hard about weighing in on the record because I knew it could sway you one way or the other, my confidence on that front is quite high. Take care.

Uncle E said...

Very nice, and since the two of you seem to love it I am confident I will also. Thanks, guys!