Since the late 80s, I’ve had a closet love of all things Prefab Sprout. I would only reveal my secret to those I was closest with. Women. There was the odd guy I could talk to about them, but mostly I was met with derision. Even most women aren’t into this kind of thing, especially post-Seattle/post-Oasis. So I kept it to myself. Most people can’t get past the jazz-lite or the voice or the Thomas Dolby production. And I don’t fault them. I was accused of having gay tastes in music beginning with Prefab Sprout. There is nothing wrong with gay tastes. But when surrounded by people whose musical taste begins and ends with Led Zep, anything else is either “pussy” music or “fag” music and the label means nothing unless you are watching a pride march or walking down Castro or are, in fact, gay and have an undying love of all things diva.

And how can I really fault these people? Not many people are going to lose their virginity to lyrics like:

If I trouble over every fold of your skirt
Am I guilty of every male-inflicted hurt


You surely are a truly gifted kid
But you’re only good as
The last great thing you did
And where’ve you been since then?


Here she is with two small problems
And the best part of the blame
Wishes she could call him heartache
But it’s not a boy’s name

Particularly if those lyrics are surrounded in a Ravel/Debussy/Modal Jazz influenced wash of 80s reverb and synths sung by a Geordie.

Despite the past and future derision of the alt/indie crowd, I’m sticking to my belief that Prefab Sprout is a perfectly mixed cocktail that is best drunk alone or with someone else who gets it. Otherwise the subtlety and beauty are lost. I end up defending and not enjoying.

The point? I had relegated them to the darkest regions of my musical closet until I heard a piece yesterday on KCRW. It was by Paddy McAloon (Sprout frontman). The project is called I Trawl the Megahertz. The piece I heard (the title track) is something like 20 minutes long and features an American actress reciting lines that Paddy heard on talk radio while he recovered from eye surgery. He recorded hours of it and took the best lines and reassembled them. The piece is haunting, weird and wonderful. It made me want to shout proudly “I’ve known about this guy for at least 15 years, fools!”

The problem, of course, is that I was shouting to iTunes. In my head.

  • brent

    how embarassing for me — I never realized I was supposed to be ashamed for liking Prefab Sprout. And to think of all the mix tapes/CDs I made with various songs from the Steve McQueen album. Now I’m wondering if my wife ever questions my manhood.

  • allisonic

    great masthead.

  • andrew

    “When Love Breaks Down” somehow makes it into my head at really odd moments in the soundtrack i play in my head.

  • sheila

    I can remember the first time I heard Bonny…my brother played it when was 15. He had Flock of Seagulls hair then.

    And of course I always thought it was Bobby not Bonny…who they hell names their son Bonny anyway…those crazy Scots!

    I count the hours since you slipped away
    I count the hours that I lie awake
    I count the minutes and the seconds too
    All I stole and I took from you
    But Bonny don’t live at home, he don’t live at home

  • Beerzie Boy

    Come out of the closet, man.

  • krotchbat

    yo, what’s with your wife not letting us comment anymore? did we offend?

  • Dave Thomas

    yo, shut up about whateverthehell you’re talking about as if this were your own website and start talking about what I want to talk about, which is your wife, because that’s not creepy or anything, is it?

  • dj blurb

    have you read the comments on If I had that shit going on here, I’d turn off comments faster than W’s administration denying culpability with the whole Weapons of Mass Destruction slash lies slash War Marketing effort.

    Dave, yep. Totally creeped out… as per usual.

  • bdk&e

    DSL down, but had to tell you that we share your Pre-fab love. You should check out KRCW’s Saturday in the park after your diddy.

  • krotchbat

    how’d you get radiohead tix so early?!

  • robert

    hey, hey momma say the way you move….