When Swing Out Sister released their debut single “Breakout” in 1987 it quickly earned them a top ten UK chart spot. Their first album It’s Better To Travel underlined their arrival when it reached number one in the UK album charts. The Manchester based band’s second single “Surrender” also made the top ten.
Further success followed when they were nominated for two American Grammy’s in the late eighties. Subsequent albums include Kaleidoscope World (1989), which represented a switch towards a more retro style. They took a step further along that path with 1992’s Get In Touch With Yourself. 1989 saw the departure of drummer Martin Jackson and Swing Out Sister became the trimmed down duo of Corinne Drewery and Andy Connell.
Five more studio albums were to follow, The Living Return (1994), Shapes And Patterns (1997), Filth And Dreams (1999), Somewhere In The Night (2001) and 2004’s Where Our Love Grows. The latter attracted some excellent reviews with some heralding it as their finest album to date.
2008 saw the release of Beautiful Mess with the band undertaking a tour of the Far East. The album is quintessential Swing Out Sister with their familiar and smooth fusion of jazz, sixties soul, hip-hop, electro and, of course, retro. Corinne’s voice has, if anything, gained in warmth and depth and is particularly effective on the album opener “Something Every Day”, which has been released as a single.
With Beautiful Mess Swing Out Sister give their faithful everything they would want from one of their albums. The late night feel generated by their trademark style is alive and well and is once again soaked in intimate candlelit atmosphere. The smoothness of “Butterfly” leads nicely into “My State Of Mind”. “I’d Be Happy” is sixties retro straight off the Motown label.
There is a soft samba feel to the instrumental “Butterfly Lullaby”. It leads nicely into the up tempo “Secret Love (You’re Invisible)”. “Out There” is smoothness personified before the album closes with the time-warp title track.
Beautiful Mess serves up enough to thrill fans of the band or those seeking out retro sounds. Their twenty plus years have done little to dim their style and with this album they remain on safe well established ground.