Esteban Lines, La Vangardia – November 23rd 1990

The British group Prefab Sprout, centred around their leader Paddy McAloon, are playing tonight in Barcelona at the Palau d’Esports after five years of absence from the stage.

MADRID. It was with the worldwide release of their latest album that they have been more or less forced to remove the covers and jump back into the ring. “Jordan: the Comeback”, which apart from being an excuse to return to the stage, is the name of the splendid fifth Prefab Sprout LP. They are one of those British groups that treasure quality and sensitivity, and in a relatively few years have created a music which is world famous, universally praised. Led, conceived and personified by their undisputed leader, Paddy McAloon, Prefab Sprout are playing tonight at the Palau d’Esports in Barcelona. On that subject, it should be noted that contrary to the announcement yesterday the start of the concert will definitely be at half past nine p.m. and there will be a support act.

Before landing in Barcelona. the “wonder boy” McAloon confessed to this newspaper that going on these tours caused him a great deal of uneasiness. “I hate it. I hate it. It’s the first one we’ve done for five years. We haven’t done it more because I felt I wanted to reject everything surrounding the world of rock, promotion, touring, the money surrounding the so called stars. But we’ve now decided we need to show the work I do live.”

It seems a group blessed by luck, chance or skill. The truth is that they signed for one of the big multi-nationals soon after launching the musical arena, and from his second album – a masterpiece called “Steve McQueen” – cooperated with the famous Thomas Dolby on production duties. After a four year hiatus, the British group has reverted to using the services of Dolby: “Thomas has a fundamental importance to what we do.. it is a role that at first glance might seem inconsequential, but on a record like “Jordan: The Comeback’ he has transcendental importance. On the other hand, the way he works with us has changed from the time of’ “Steve McQueen”, where he had to work on songs structured around piano and voice; this time the arrangements were much more complex, full of nuances.” It follows that this is the main reason for the relative slowness with which the British group release their records.” Paddy McAloon continues: “Indeed, recording this LP, has been very long and laborious. Its great virtue is that it has created a seemingly simple music, easy to listen to, perfect, but nothing is ever easy.”

This production work, in any case runs in parallel to the unquestionable compositional quality of Paddy McAloon that today stands out against the backdrop of British music. “I deeply dislike the kind of pop and rock that is popular in my country, because basically it’s ‘dance-music’. Indirectly that may have increased my tendency towards melody, as a rejection of the rhythmic structure. That isn’t to say I hate dance music: I love Michael Jackson for example, but there’s nothing simple about the music of Prefab Sprout”.

What is not in doubt is that the group as such is based around and relies to a significant degree of the person / personality of this diminutive melodic genius. Regarding the rest of the group, his brother Martin, his girlfriend Wendy Smith and Neil Conti: “although I call the shots and do the interviews are not just simple additions; the group is fundamental. To use a film metaphor, you don’t talk about a film by discussing only the director; Prefab Sprout is not just Paddy McAloon.”

Significantly, “Jordan, the Comeback” has a total of nineteen songs, very unusual in the world of rock. “Not surprisingly I had plenty of problems with the record label, which as well as doubting the appropriateness of many of the topics included considered the project was too expensive. I told them they had to take what I was offering or there would be no record. In the end I prevailed.”