Paddy McAloon, looking back on his band’s debut in 2013, stated “We thought that for all the intricate twists and turns of the music, even a record like Swoon would be as big as Thriller.” Swoon is the album equivalent of an over eager puppy – its songs are stuffed with complex chord changes and time signatures, and precocious lyrics. At the same time, the production is far less elaborate than later albums, and it’s more of an indie guitar album than their later work.
Some fans swear by Swoon as one of Prefab Sprout’s best albums, but it took me a long time to warm to it, as there’s so much happening. ‘Cue Fanfare’ is a good example of the album’s dense and skewed nature, with its references to “Playing for blood as grandmasters should,” and McAloon’s yelped falsetto and synthesizer stabs. ‘Don’t Sing’ was the single, and it’s probably the most accessible song, while under the busy arrangement, ‘Cruel’ has a torch song vibe.
Swoon is a polarising album since it’s so unique, and I wouldn’t recommend starting here, since it’s so dizzying and overwhelming at first.