Some albums have a troubled existence, and this, of course, is why they become our favourites. When I Trawl The Megahertz first arrived there was very little fanfare and it wasn't even billed as a Prefab Sprout album. Curious. And, because it was 2003 there was no vinyl version. Bad days indeed...however did we survive?!
Now, I'm happy to report I Trawl The Megahertz is re-released as a bona-fide Prefab Sprout record and rightfully haled as an amazing piece of music. And make no mistake, it is a real piece of music, subtle in lush textures, reminiscent of classical composers such as Debussy and Ravel deep in late night conversations with modernist pop warriors like Blue Nile, Talk Talk or maybe even It's Immaterial circa vastly underrated album Song.
Paddy McAloon was undergoing surgery to save his eyesight when he was writing and recording I Trawl The Megahertz, and this plays a huge part in the records otherness. It's a little bit like listening to a forgotten Disney soundtrack that you only saw once when you were five years old. Parts of it seem familair but it's a world you are having trouble remembering. The opening title track is twenty-two minutes of sheer aural bliss wherin a woman we have never met reveals fragments from her lifestory whilst strings cascade all around her. There are cut ups of dialogue recorded from late night radio shows (a favourite past-time of Paddy's whilst in recuperation from surgery) and beautifully ornate passages played by The Robert McFall Orchestra. Other stand out tracks are I'm 49, Fall From Grace and ...but we were happy but the best way to hear this album is to let it wash over you as a whole. I play it when there's important work to be done that needs a musical soundtrack - and this years RSD ordering was one momentous example of that!
It's interesting to note that classical music has made a resurgency over the past five years and I Trawl The Megahertz could easily fit into this bracket. But it was made by a man wildly out of step with his contemporaries but forever plugged into untapped melodic beauty.
And for that we shoud be thankful!
VINYL REVOLUTION ALBUM OF THE WEEK