Swing Out Sister – Blue Mood, Breakout And Beyond (Box Set) (Preview) (Review)

Swing Out Sister – Blue Mood, Breakout And Beyond (Box Set) (Preview) (Review)

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Sister Swing Out – Blue Mood, Breakout & Beyond (Box)

When Swing Out Sister’s “Breakout” became a worldwide hit in 1987, it came as much of a surprise to the band members as it did to many pop radio listeners who were unaccustomed to such heavy layers of soul and jazz. intertwined with their top- 40 doses. The celebratory air of assertiveness was, indeed, considerably more pronounced in its fusion of styles than its predecessor, 1985’s “Blue Mood.”

As described in detail by Corinne Drewery and Andy Connell – the core of the band since 1989 – in the liner notes of Cherry Red’s new eight-CD set, Blue Mood, Breakout and beyond, the runaway success of “Breakout” made it necessary to cut their chops in the studio and in concert halls on short notice. The resulting style the duo – initially with drummer Martin Jackson – crafted over their first three albums is represented in the set, which also includes a sought-after live album and four discs of remixes and B-sides.

Swing Out Sister has toured and recorded regularly over the three decades since the time featured on Blue Mood, Breakout and beyond. It’s clear from re-listening to their early albums that they’ve always understood their melodic and stylistic sensibilities. The core elements of richly arranged soul pop punctuated by subtle sonic experimentation remained defining factors in their musical essence, and Drewery’s assured, but never forced, vocal delivery continued to be an essential part of their style. of signing.

It’s better to travel (disc one), their debut album, thrived on the combination of danceable rhythm tracks and bright horn sections that made “Breakout” so appealing. Subsequent singles “Surrender”, “Twilight World” and “Fooled by a Smile” each boast memorable hooks, but notably left a little more room for Drewery’s vocals to shine. The contemplative lyrics of the final two numbers foreshadowed the band’s softer side, which they would come to explore more prominently on later albums. Meanwhile, the album’s track “It’s Not Enough” accomplished the same thing in a different vein, with the keyboard and percussion elements carrying a particularly clubbier vibe.

1989 Kaleidoscope World (disc two) found Drewery and Connell (at this point reduced to a duet) incorporating film-inspired symphonic arrangements, which they emphasize in the liner notes stemmed from their love of John Barry’s scores. Ranging from the busy ‘You on My Mind’ to the melancholic ‘Forever Blue’, the album is perhaps best known for one track that was considerably different in composition from most of the other selections: ‘Waiting Game. Embodying a similar chord structure to “Breakout”, the song nevertheless stands out for its juxtaposition of lively melodies with desperate lyrics. Along with standout tracks like the swinging “Tainted” and lively “Between Strangers”, the album also features the unforgettable “Where in the World”. Expertly blending sophisticated guitar groove with swirling strings, its thoughtful lyrics are beautifully brought to life by Drewery and backing vocalists Derek Green and Chyna.

Swing Out Sister’s third LP, 1992 Get in touch with yourself, is the last studio album contained in the box set. Depending on where fans lived (and whether they frequented the clubs or listened to the radio more often), they might be more familiar with the club-tinged “Notgonnachange” or the celebratory rendition of “Am I the Same Girl? ” by Barbara Acklin. The former was remixed by house music legend Frankie Knuckles and did well on the US dance charts, while the latter commercially overtook Acklin’s original (not to mention a Dusty Springfield remake). ), topping the US adult-contemporary charts and reaching the top 10 across Europe. Some album cuts took a more traditional approach than found on the previous two albums; but there are standout moments in the cleverly nuanced “Circulate” and the sleek, funky “Everyday Crime.”

Released only in Japan in 1993, Live at the Jazz Café, includes disc four of Blue Mood, Breakout and beyond. Swing Out Sister has released several gigs on CD more widely in recent years; but he is particularly keen to have this relatively early set as part of a set containing the albums corresponding to the repertoire performed. The first half of the performance includes faithful performances of the hits “You on My Mind”, “Surrender” and “Twilight World”, while the second is highlighted by new presentations of “Breakout”, “Notgonnachange” and “Circulate”. — each incorporating top jazz ingredients (and some invigorating Latin spices) into the bargain.

Over three dozen remixes are spread across discs five, six and seven of the box set. Fans of “Twilight World” and “Notgonnachange” will be delighted, as half a dozen versions of each are here, with almost as many “Breakout” and “Waiting Game.” As these were created in an era before the widespread practice of totally reconstructing the core of a song for the dance market, the differences between these may seem minor to listeners raised on mixshow radio. There are certainly, however, deeply pleasing sonic twists in the variations found in the Ulti Mix of “Waiting Game”, The World Travel Mix of “Twilight World” and Growler Mix of “Blue Mood” (to name a few). only a few).

Finally, the eighth disc contains 11 B-sides covering the period from 1986 to 1992. The vast selection ranges from edgy and brooding grooves (“Dirty Money”, “Fever”) to the serene piano ballad (a cover of “The Windmills of Your” by Noel Harrison Mind”) and gripping instrumental jamming (with some dreamy ad-libbing thrown in for good measure, like on “I Can Hear You But I Can’t See You”).

Among the many excellent British artists who impacted music globally in the late 80s and early 90s, Swing Out Sister is in a class of their own. As demonstrated on Blue Mood, Breakout and beyond, they skillfully defined their sound on their debut album. With each successive release, they continued to refine it by organically adding new influences without compromising their artistic integrity. Highly recommended.

by Justin Kantor

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