CD Review: Prefab Sprout

Prefab Sprout
Steve McQueen
SonyBMG Music Entertainment/Legacy
By David Chiu

A masterpiece by one of pop’s under appreciated British bands (at least here in America), Prefab Sprout’s 1985 Steve McQueen album finally gets the deluxe reissue treatment: one disc of the original work digitally remastered, the other containing eight newly-recorded acoustic versions of the songs performed by singer Paddy McAloon. Steve McQueen (originally titled Two Wheels Good upon its American release) is contemporary jazz-like pop mixed with Tin Pan Alley–its polished sheen, courtesy of producer Thomas Dolby, is complemented by McAloon’s clever and witty lyrics of romantic complications and longing: the wonderful “Appetite,” the bittersweet “When Love Breaks Down” and “Bonny,” and the lovely “Hallelujah” and “Desire As.” The recent acoustic versions of the songs featuring McAloon on vocals and guitar prove that the songs translate well in this setting from their meticulously produced original form—McAloon’s whispery singing and the guitars really shimmer. In some instances, tracks like “Desire As” and “When the Angels” sound significantly different. Steve McQueen doesn’t get much recognition on American best albums list—it should.

See a video of “Appetite” on YouTube:


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