were always the most unlikely of pop stars. Not sex-gods or glamour-children, just writers of brilliant song...just the way it should be and rarely is. ‘Jordan: The Comeback’ flies in the face if fashion, and sees them reach full pop maturity with a monumental 19 tracks, produced to sickly sweet perfection by Thomas Dolby.
The too-many-cream cakes syndrome is held in check by Paddy McAloon’s wonderful sense of the absurd, as
epitomised by Jesse James Symphony:
Jesse James is thinking of the breaks he never had/And the genes that cursed his blood group rhesus bad / Jesse James lived money, his account was in the black / Till the day he stopped a bullet with his back.
All delivered in laid-back neo-respectable style, like Perry Como on acid. There's a great line in titles too - from
Machine Gun Ibiza with it’s porno film wah-wah, to (the albeit patronising) All Boys Believe Anything.
Modernism certainly isn’t something Prefab Sprout worry themselves too much with: Any music worth it’s salt is good for dancing .. Paddy croons during
Paris Smith before going on to reveal that he’s thinking more of Fred Astaire than being ‘on one’ in a field.
This sense of the classical pervades the album, not least through
Paddy’s soft voice and Wendy Smith’s angelic harmonies.
Scarlet Nights has more of an upbeat flavour than the Looking For Atlantis single. Everywhere else the dancing is strictly top hat and tails compatible, and many of the songs could indeed be from musicals.
All The World Loves Lovers is a particularly touching case in point, mixing romance with a clear head:
You and I won’t lose our heads the way some lovers do / Saying this will last forever when it’s just a year or two / You and I won’t be the fools that other lovers are / Thinking every silver bottle top potentially a
Knowledge of beauty, in itself rare. Paddy McAloon is like a Shakespeare in a world of cheap novels.