To understand Paddy McAloon's new album you need to know one thing: the creative mainstay of Prefab Sprout is now almost completely blind. As a result, this soulful Geordie now spends much of his time listening to the radio, home recording equipment at the ready. I Trawl The Megahertz is the result of these late-night experiments, fragments of phone-in conversations weaved into a series of compelling narratives against a lushly orchestral background. While it borders on the self-indulgent at times, much of the material is absolutely fascinating - despite, or perhaps because of the fact that it's been taken completely out of its original context. The centrepiece is the title track, a 22-minute tale of loss narrated by an American female vocalist that builds into an unbearably moving symphony of sadness. I Trawl The Megahertz may well be McAloon's last release for some time. All the more reason to treasure it - this is an exceptional work from an exceptional talent.