Monday, 13 July 2009

Paddy: The Comeback

I would dearly love to post a song or two from the brilliant new (well, it's not new as such: it was recorded in 1992, but you know what I mean) Prefab Sprout record, Let’s Change The World With Music, but it’s not due out until early September and I know somebody would track me down and execute me with extreme prejudice if I did.

I can tell you, however, that I spoke to Paddy McAloon “live in Consett” today for over an hour and he was just about the most interesting musician I’ve interviewed for a long, long time. And the most complex. He seems to have a bad case of Release Anxiety: he loves making music and has hundreds and hundreds of unreleased songs lying in boxes at home, but has a strange (or perhaps not so strange) reluctance to let them out into the world. It’s rather lovely, and also rather sad. “Here I am, blinking into the light reluctantly,” he laughed. “The man who tries to get through his life by not touching the sides. That’s me. I cannot deny it.”

He was, of course, charm personified. I told him that I saw Prefab Sprout in Bristol (on their last tour, way back in 2000) and that it was a fantastic night, far exceeding my expectations. He seemed quietly pleased, and my memory of the gig isn't soured at all by learning that he clearly didn't enjoy touring at all. He prefers to "potter." Don't we all.
Look out for the interview somewhere down the line. And don't miss the album.


Anonymous said...

Hi Graeme - which other Sprout album does the new one most resemble in terms of production and songwriting? James

Rollmo said...

Yes please the interview as soon as you can.

Anonymous said...

I think without threat you can at least reveal the actual tracklisting. There are so many curious out there like to know.

Graeme Thomson said...

Hi folks,

Thanks for your comments. First of all, the tracklisting I have on my official promo is as follows:

1. Let There Be Music
2. Ride
3. I Love Music
4. God Watch Over You
5. Music Is a Princess
6. Earth: The Story So Far
7. The Last Of The Great Romantics
8. Falling In Love
9. Sweet Gospel Music
10. Meet The New Mozart
11. Angel of Love

In terms of what it sounds like, I'd say it falls pretty neatly between 'Jordan' and 'Andromeda', which of course makes sense as these are the original recordings Paddy made (alone) of these songs, dating back to 1992: they have not been re-recorded, but have been "baked in the oven", as Paddy put it, by Calum Malcolm. It sounds finished, though. Definitely a proper, coherent and thematically unified album.

The sound is pretty synthetic (not a lot of 'natural' band sounds, so probably closer to 'Andromeda' than 'Jordan') but the songs by and large are wonderful.

I can't really post more of the interview because I have been commissioned to write it for a paper and a magazine. Sorry. Happy to try and answer any more questions, though.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Graeme, much appreciated - I reviewed Complicated Shadows when it came out, thought it was great.

SFF said... sent me to your blog and I have to give the good fellow credit on getting me here.

Each day I find myself ever enthused at one of this year's most anticipated recordings for this here Yank.

Anywaym Graeme, thank you for spending some time mentioning the work of one of the world's most underappreciated artists, Paddy McAloon.

Anyway, apart from my love for science fiction, I'm a huge music fan and happy to have stumbled upon your site.

I spent a fair bit of time living in Edinburgh and spending time in Scotland. A terrific people! I'll be back and as others mentioned previously, I hope we can see more of the interview here later or let us know where and when it is published and we'll try and hunt down a copy.

Great track by the Waterboys as well. Lovely.

Graeme Thomson said...

Anonymous - thanks for your comments on Complicated Shadows. Glad you enjoyed it. Who did you review it for?

And thank you too Sc-Fi Fanatic: lovely to have you around.

Best, Graeme

Anonymous said...

Hi Graeme.

You have no idea how excited I am by this news. Paddy is a blessed saint in my book and very much missed. It would be great of he could be persuaded to release some new recordings.

Any news on the great man's health? I hope that he is doing well.

Kind Regards

Ps. I too really enjoyed Complicated Shadows...even if Elvis probably didn't!

Graeme Thomson said...

Thanks Darren. No, I don't think Elvis is a great fan of that book!

Paddy seemed in relatively OK health: he said his eyes are still giving him problems, and he now has significant loss of hearing in one ear, but all in all he seemed pretty chipper.


Unknown said...

I am very, very excited. Paddy is my favourite alchemist.

Anonymous said...

Hi Graeme

Complicated Shadows was reviewed for The Leeds Guide.


Sean said...

I'm late coming to Prefab Sprout. I liked them a little bit back in the 80s and early 90s, but it wasn't until re-listening to some of their stuff about six months ago that I caught on to how much heart was in the songs -- the heart goes a thousand miles deep, in fact. Now I've acquired basically everything Paddy has done, and am hungry for more. It's a darned lucky thing that there's a new album coming out, and I can't wait to hear it.

Paul said...

Hello, Graeme, from a long-time fan of Paddy & co. I look forward to reading your interview with the Sage of Durham County. I've enjoyed your EC book enormously. Any chance your next book -- or the one after that -- might be about Paddy Joe?

All best,

Paul from Philadelphia

3Y Old to Follow "behind the curtain" said...

Hi, one question only on the new album .

There is a kind ofwendy smith voice in the let change the world of music songs ?

Michele from italy

Graeme Thomson said...

Hi Michele,

Nope, no sign of Wendy! It's all Paddy....