British pop aesthetes Prefab Sprout scored their highest achievement with Jordan: The Comeback (1990), a sprawling release that’s almost too much to grasp in a single listening. Lead singer/songwriter Paddy McAloon gets unabashedly ambitious here — the album’s 19 tracks are grouped into a series of mini-suites touching upon fame, rebellion, romantic loss and spiritual fulfillment. If the topics are heavy, the music is mostly light and billowing, drawing upon disco, Burt Bacharach-style pop and classic R&B for inspiration. McAloon’s fairly nondescript voice manages to capture real passion, underscored by Wendy Smith’s coolly mannered backup on tracks like “The Ice Maiden” and “All Boys Believe Anything.” There’s a cinematic sweep to the album’s lyrics, encompassing everything from lovelorn regrets (“We Let The Stars Go”) to fervent prayers (“One Of The Broken”). The most fascinating songs deal with American-style celebrity, whether embodied by a legendary rock icon (the title tune) or a murdered gunslinger (“Jesse James Symphony,” ”Jesse James Bolero”). Thomas Dolby’s production adds an ethereal sheen to the tracks without weakening their intimacy or burying their rhythmic flow. A work of consummate craft and warm, thoughtful content, Jordan: The Comeback is Prefab Sprout’s finest hour.