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SWING OUT SISTER Beautiful Mess (2008)

Swing Out Sister

Swing Out Sister's 1987 It's Better To Travel debut was a minor classic of the period. Perhaps not up there with Culture Club, ABC and Spandau, but it nevertheless struck a chord, producing 3 hit singles - Breakout, Surrender and Twilight World. I still have a vinyl copy and may well have indulged in the follow up Kaleidoscope World (1989) although (tellingly?) its no longer in my possession.

While the band have never reached the heights of that debut album, I was amazed to find that they've been quietly producing an album every three years (on average) and now have eight studio albums and two live albums to their name). So Andy Connell and Corinne Drewery obviously have an attentive fanbase.

With the current revival of things eighties, it's not a bad time to release their latest album Beautiful Mess, although in truth the band have never strayed far away from their roots. Beautiful Mess perhaps stretches back even further: clear sixties/Motown influences apparent in a number of songs (I'd Be Happy has strong Petula Clark overtones).

Elsewhere, Butterfly is the sort of material Lisa Stansfield or Yazz might knock out, but what is common throughout is the laid back jazz café style.

I suspect the album is unlikely to earn the band new fans (although devotees will be happy) and if you're looking for a dinner party album (and your wife has told you the new AC/DC album is inappropriate), look no further. There's no danger your dinner guests will be distracted from the intimate small talk.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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