Prefab Sprout | Let’s Change the World With Music (Tompkins Square)

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Singer/songwriter Paddy McAloon is a man with a sincere and deeply rooted love of music.

Prefab Sprout employs a guest M.C. to kick off their reunion disc Let’s Change the World With Music. It’s a good call in my book, recognizing the current music culture while staying true to the British band’s mellow and comforting sound. Old friend—and singer/songwriter—Paddy  McAloon is back with his timelessly smooth, hushed voice, sounding every bit as good as he did on the band’s seminal 1985 release Two Wheels Good. (Called Steve McQueen in its original English release, the album was remastered/rereleased three years ago).
Lead-off track “Let There Be Music” finds McAloon promising, “You will hear my story/ you will glimpse my glory.” We’ve already seen it Paddy, and you had us at word one. Track two, “Ride,” finds the band adopting a dance-floor undercurrent accompanied by horns. “I Love Music” (noticing a theme here?) sounds like an old classic, something Frank Sinatra could have easily performed. In this case, though, the man with the well-loved voice is a Brit whose songwriting has won countless raves and accolades across the Big Pond. “I’ve no time for religion/ maybe doubt’s a modern disease,” McAloon surmises on “God Watch Over You,” a gentle piano-and-strings number.
“Music Is a Princess” finds McAloon comparing his art to royalty, conceding “I’m just a boy in rags/ I’d gladly spend my life/ carrying her bags.” His voice is strong and silky, with unexpected yet glorious dips into a near-whisper. “Science broke the news/ the only absolute is light” he sings on “Earth, the Story So Far”; that song gives way to “Last of the Great Romantics” with its triumphantly gorgeous instrumental interlude. “Falling in love is simple/ nothing you need to know” sings McAloon on the next track, “Falling in Love.”
“My poor heart was heavy, my poor heart was stoned/ when I heard them, they were angels,” says the artist on “Sweet Gospel Music,” further proving the fact that this is a man with a sincere and deeply rooted love of music. It goes beyond the fondness most of us have, forming the basis of all he feels and thinks and is about. Music is god and lover, teacher and mother. Paddy McAloon is music, Prefab Sprout his gift to listeners.
Let’s Change the World wraps with “Meet the New Mozart” and “Angel of Love,” the former a dreamy ride accented with electronic snowflakes, and the latter a heavenly gift and bid adieu. Overall, the album’s sheer joy, perfect for alone time or as welcome company on a night drive. A- | Laura Hamlett
RIYL: Bryan Ferry, Sondre Lerche, Bert Bacharach
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