– THE QUIET RIOT –
In 1999, Paddy McAloon – lead singer of 80s / 90s pop group Prefab Sprout – found himself fighting against blindness due to detached retinas. Housebound, he resorted to late night sessions of skipping through talk radio channels for comfort.
He made notes of his favourite snippets of conversations, forming what could loosely be described as lyrics around them. Not always focussed, but often profound, these poems formed the basis of 2003 album i trawl the MEGAHERTZ.
Now re-mastered and re-released, the album is a striking journal of one man’s isolation and desperate sadness.
It’s a rare gem of a record; one that deliberately and bare-facedly eschews the artist’s monolithic fame from a former life in reaching for something more profound. Like Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden or Kate Bush’s Aerial it was initially considered unreleasable by the record label – indeed, McAloon, himself, signed off on releasing it under his own name the first time around for fear that it would disappoint Sprout fans more used to the quirky pop sensibilities of Cars and Girls.
Beautifully underscored throughout by sweeping strings and jazz instrumentation composed by David McGuinness the 22-minute opening title-track serves as the perfect encapsulation of the album as a whole.
As Yvonne Connors (an American commodities broker based in London) recounts the “story of [her] life”, fragments of truisms and philosophies emerge. As scattergun as they are succinct, what hits home hardest for each listener will be dictated by their life experiences, but I struggle to see how something won’t resonate with everyone in some way.
It is the sort of track that sounds like it’s about to end several times during its run time and, each time, I beg it to stay just a little longer. It’s a testament to the song’s sheer beauty and poignancy that, at 22 minutes I still wish it would go on longer.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX:
You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –