Prefab Sprout – When The Angels. Flutter off.
And so it comes to the last song on the album, ceremoniously launched with 5 seconds of organ music. Two lines of softly sung lyrics, and then Paddy gets insistent and strident (relatively speaking) for the rest of the song, accompanied by funky bass, lively drums, parping synths and in the background what sounds appropriately like the fluttering of wings.
A diatribe against angels, the subject makes me think a bit of Wings of Desire – the mundanity of their life anyway. The spitefulness I’d associate more with Dogma. It’s not something I can really connect with. And it’s a shame they went all shy about the last word in “Hard faced little bastards” – piety which draws unnecessary attention to something that is, after all, just another word.
Knowing what I know now about the recording and producing of the album, it feel like Thomas Dolby had a big hand in this song – all the ‘colour’ of the music seems to come from keyboards. And it’s probably the closest the band come to the poppy sound of “Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque“, which tells me – ‘you’ve had your fill, drink up, that’s it for Steve McQueen’.
It was good to spend so much time with this album. There are some treasures, that I hadn’t really appreciated before. There were also more dullards than I recalled (unfortunately). But even the less appealing songs are coated in a beautiful glow of polished sound. I’ve listened to the songs as mp3s on cheap headphones. It’s a safe bet that when I get the chance to stick my head between two speakers in an open room as the album plays on a stereo, the sound would be even more impressive.
As far as content goes, I hadn’t made the connection between the album title and the subject of many of the songs – a study into flawed masculinity and the aftermath of failed relationships. Perhaps as the last song tails off into the fade out, it’s appropriate that the last lines are:
“When the angels take the angel voice away
Jealously they see, the sometimes man you’d be”