Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Swing Out Sister - Beautiful Mess

For a group that surfaced in 1987, Swing Out Sister have never taken much time off. You would discover -- going through their discography -- that they've been pumping out albums every two to three years...until now. Four years after Where Our Love Grows, Swing Out Sister have created their 9th studio album, Beautiful Mess, due out in U.K. stores on Sept. 8th.

The disc grabs your attention early with the teasing and tantalizing groove of the first single "Something Every Day." Right there is ample evidence that Corinne Drewery and Andy Connell aren't falling back on their previous successes. "Time Tracks You Down" is lyrically astute and songbird Drewery gets to stretch her wings on some notes here. Expected as a possible single, "Butterfly," is beautiful and percussion-heavy but repeat listenings wear out the wings. A slight bit more experimentation surfaces in the textures used on "My State Of Mind" but seems to overpower the track. Close your eyes and you can't help but think Motown when hearing the electric "I'd Be Happy" which is a true gem here. "Butterfly Lullaby" (an instrumental interpretation of "Butterfly") is aptly titled and not recommended on long drives but maybe slow dancing. Lush build-up going into "Secret Love (You're Invisible)" as it utilizes the lull created by the former track and makes an abrupt but welcomed jump. Would just love to hear that remixed for the dance floor. "All I Say, All I Do" falls flat a little while "Out There" recaptures the torch with a stark keyboard opening, lightening as the layers build. The title track re-energizes the set as the disc closes. I can't recommend the Little Wizard bonus remixes of "Butterfly" and "Something Every Day" as they just don't add anything positive to the originals.

I specifically recall my father referring to Sade as 'sleepy music' yet, entirely enjoying Anita Baker. Jazz in it's many variations has a wide range of reactions upon a listener. Technically, Swing Out Sister's Beautiful Mess hits all the right notes for this reviewer but I believe it repeats a few of them too often. Far from a mess, the album still shines more than not and fans will receive it with open arms.

3 out of 5

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