England has certainly produced more than its share of sparkling pop/rock during the half-century since The Beatles emerged, but during the '80s such music very rarely got better than this. Led by frontman and songwriter Paddy McAloon, Prefab Sprout continued the eclectic British tradition of contemporary literate rock outfits like XTC and Squeeze. Even better, the group benefited from the presence of Wendy Smith as backing vocalist, who managed to brighten up the band's sound to a level that could only be labeled as giddy. But clearly the most important element here is McAloon's sturdy songwriting, which stands proudly among some of the finest talents of the decade.
"Cars and Girls" is not a song that received heavy airplay when first released as a single in 1988, even in the group's native Britain. Stopping just short of cracking the Top 40 there, this tune instead has built a strong case for itself as a late-'80s pop classic over many years of shining confidently through the massive amount of pure pop music that has been released in the ensuing years. It's an absolute joy to hear today, exhibiting practically no dated qualities in either its production or straightforward execution. Genuinely exquisite stuff.
- Sample or download "Cars and Girls" here.
- Compare prices on Prefab Sprout CDs here.
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Album Cover Image Courtesy of Columbia/Sony