Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
UK new wave pop group formed in Newcastle '78 by singer/songwriter, guitarist Paddy (Patrick) McAloon (b 7 June '57), inspired by then prevalent teen idols Marc Bolan and David Bowie, with brother Martin on drums (b 4 Jan. '62) and second vocalist Wendy Smith. Name came from phrase 'pepper sprout' in Nancy Sinatra's 'Jackson', misheard by McAloon. Initials of first self-financed single 'Lions In My Own Garden (Exit Someone)' spelled Limoges, where his girlfriend had gone to study, pointing up a tendency to Elvis Costello-type wordplay (also a parallel with Aztec Camera's Roddy Frame); the single helped get signing to local Kitchenware label. Album Swoon '84 distributed through CBS, incl. more such fragile jewels; it polarized critics (intriguing to some, contrived to others), sold moderately. Steve McQueen '85 (retitled Two Wheels Good for USA after run- in with star's widow) was glossier, thanks to prod./ keyboardist Thomas Dolby; single 'When Love Breaks Down' their first real hit, while 'Faron Young' mixed wordplay with metaphor on the British habit of adapting American/artificial views as their own (though to read the UK press you'd think the whole country is anti-American). 'When The Angels' was a Marvin Gaye tribute (without mentioning his name). McAloon was a critics' darling and a promising writer in the Costello mode; like Costello he often puts melody second and may remain a cult figure on that account, but his influences are eclectic. Further albums incl. From Langley Park To Memphis '88 and Jordan The Comeback '90, compilation A Life Of Surprises '92, Andromeda Heights '97 (the name of McAloon's studio).