Release Date: Oct 7, 2013
Record label: Universal
The Sprouts’ last album, Let’s Change The World With Music, languished in the vaults for 17 years before finally being released in 2009, so Crimson/ Red is actually the band’s first new recordings since the beginning of the century. However, “band” isn’t the most accurate description, as these 10 tracks are played and sung entirely by Paddy McAloon solo. Perhaps understandably for someone who would appear to have had a lot of time on his hands in recent years, McAloon delivers a largely autobiographical set of songs, kicking off with a dig at writing for a living (The Best Jewel Thief In The World) and ruminating on an artist arguably no longer as appreciated as in the past on The Old Magician (“there was a time he produced doves”).
"The old magician takes the stage/ His act has not improved with age/ Observe the shabby hat and gloves/ The tired act that no one loves," are the (possibly) self-referential first lines of Crimson/Red's most emphatic song, The Old Magician. Paddy McAloon – currently the only member of Prefab Sprout – has paired the lyric with a blaring country harmonica/keyboard arrangement, essentially asserting that this old-stager isn't about to go gentle into any good night. The first album of previously unheard material to be released since Andromeda Heights in 1997, Crimson/Red is a corker in more ways than one.