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Two Wheels Good

4.9 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 28, 2011
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Two Wheels Good - Prefab Sprout

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Softening the thorny style of their debut, Swoon, for this 1985 follow-up, Prefab Sprout committed one of the decade's most profound pop moments with "When Love Breaks Down." A sad testament to "the wrecks who leave their hearts," it's anything but wistful. That sort of multileveled smarts didn't help the group with U.S. radio programmers, despite Two Wheels Good's nearly devotional approach to lushness of melody and production. Even better was to come in the form of 1990's Jordan: The Comeback. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 28, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epic
  • Run Time: 53 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000264P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,171 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ah, Prefab's second full-length, and the one many consider to be their best. Me, I find it incredibly difficult to single out "the best" Prefab album; I think this one, "Swoon", "Protest Songs", and "Jordan" are all equally brilliant. This album was actually the first Prefab I ever bought, but it didn't really do it for me the first time, and being the poor college student I was, it didn't take much convincing for me to sell it a month later. I was much more into the jagged edges and white-knuckled jazz-pop of their first effort "Swoon". BUT, one song kept haunting me, wouldn't get out of my head, and I recorded it onto a mix tape before selling back the album. The song, "Bonny", seemed to perfectly embody what makes Paddy McCloon's writing so brilliant.
Like Brian Wilson, he can take two relatively simple chords, and shape a song around them in such a way as to achieve something so rich and sublime you'd think he'd have a small orchestra banging away behind him. But no, all he needs is a piano or guitar, a simple and snappy rhythm section, and his voice, to create some of the most melodic, catchy, and harmonically complex music in pop since Brian Wilson's legendary "Smile" sessions. It's like how Wilson's masterpiece tune "Surf's Up" did with one piano what others would need a ten piece ensemble to achieve. The piano part is so harmonically rich that the song doesn't need anything else - it's all covered on the piano. Paddy proves equally adept at this.
After a year spent ceaselessly in love with "Bonny" on my mix tape, I decided to take another stab at this one, and it finally clicked. The songs were so deceptively simple, and they had smoothed out all the rough edges and the convoluted song structures from "Swoon", yet still retaind the energy, wit, moodiness, and gossamer beauty.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm having a debate with myself... is this the best, most intelligent pop album ever? At the moment its a toss up between 'Steve McQueen / Two Wheels Good' or June by SwanDive. As I've only been listening to the latter for a matter of months, whereas Steve McQueen has been getting regular plays for over 15 years I'm opting for the former.

So why is it so good? Music, melody, words, feelings - well all of the above to be honest. Its been said before, but the first side of the album (remember LP's guys) is perhaps the most complete and perfect set of songs. Music such as this never dates and I defy you not to be touched.

For me the stand out track is #2 Bonny. My favourite song of all time... nothing comes close to its beauty. It's the only song ever to make me cry.

Buy this album now, don't think about it, just do it. Like a first love, it'll eat you up inside and leave you secretly wanting it forever.
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Format: Audio CD
Back in the mid to late 80's, Houston was blessed to have a local version of MTV, "Hit Video U.S.A." on a low frequency station (Channel 5) that aired videos by world renowned and up and coming artists and it was on this station that I first saw the clip for "Appetite", a soft-focus, gauzy, serene dreamscape that featured bandleader Paddy McAloon staring sincerely into the camera while intoning his heartbreaking lyrics of desire and loss. I've been enchanted with this bands work ever since. "Two Wheels Good" (known everywhere else as "Steve McQueen") is a brilliant slice of pop art that incorporates elements of jazz, barouque, chamber pop and rock with lyrics that are consistently heart-tugging without pandering or lapsing into self-loathing. These are precious songs about desire, loss and emptiness and not neccessarily how to get over them, but how to learn to live with them. "Beatlesque" in its since of melody and beautifully produced by Thomas Dolby ,"Two Wheels..." is an overlooked Brit Pop Masterpiece. Worth searching out.
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Format: Audio CD
geez. 18 years and the magic is still there. I am a late 30's full grown-up man, i've been around the block but tonight, listening to this CD, and especially " when loves breaks down " i feel again the pain of the 18 year old I was when that song came out. Paddy Mc Aloon wrote the Ultimate break-up song. It's pure poison flowing through yours veins.Wendy Smith has an amazing voice and Paddy's lyrics are describing so well what we all have been going through at 1 point of our life.
"When love breaks down
The lies we tell,
They only serve to fool ourselves,
When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you "
DAMN !
definitively the best song in one of the best albums of the eighties.
P.S. : Sylvie, If by, I don't know what miracle, you happened to read this. " Je t'aime encore et t'aimerais toujours "
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Format: Audio CD
Prefab Sprout was branded "quirky" after it's debut album "Swoon" was released, and with good reason...obscure lyrics and a style that sounded like Steely Dan on acid. That's not to say it wasn't a good album because it was...but Paddy McAloon and company really came into their own with "Two Wheels Good." Mature songwriting, pristine playing, memorable hooks, intelligent lyrics, beautiful harmonies, and flawless production by Thomas Dolby made this album one of the best of the 80's. ANY fan of great pop music should be thankful for this CD.
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