Friday, October 15, 2010

Swing Out Sister - Filth and Dreams (1999)

In the mid 80's when it was cool to be white, jazzy and "sophisticated", Swing Out Sister made a big splash in the realm of Simply Red, Level 42 and Sade-saturated radio with a punchy little ditty called 'Breakout' from their 1987 debut It's Better To Travel. Although many might contest my opinion about 80's pop, I believe it was a golden era for radio in its own way...mostly thanks to bands like this one!

Proving to be something of a "thinking man's" Everything But The Girl, Swing Out Sister demonstrated early on that they possessed sound & image all their own, especially when compared to some of their more popular contemporaries. They indulged audiences in Burt Bacharach inspired jazzy pop marked by the talented vocals of Corinne Drewery, who sported a 50's style bob and sang like Dusty Springfield, and further refined by Andy Connell's atmospheric keyboard work. The result? A distinctive sound and a fruitful enough fanbase to support their careers.

Like so many of the Sophisti-pop scene's rising meteors however, Swing Out Sister only held the public eye for the remainder of the 80's before being dismissed as an outdated accessory in the wake of such acts as Seal and Primal Scream. This didn't stop Corrine and friends from gaining a rediculously large cult following in countries like Japan and Singapore since that time however, and as a result the band has been putting out record after record for the last 15 well as continuing to evolve their sound.

With all that in mind, we now come to a very rare disk amidst the outfit's discography and possibly their best, a Bristolian exercise in trippy noir pop called Filth and Dreams, which received a Japan exclusive release in 1999 and has not been made available anywhere else since that time.

Although more organic and a bit less sampled than what Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead and the equally evolved-over-time Everything But The Girl were dabbling in at the dawn of the new millennium, make no misake: Swing Out Sister deliver the beats and darkness of the late 90's in just as compelling a manner, but without losing sight of their jazzy pop sensibility in the process.

There's a laid back early morning fog about these ten tracks that might invoke nostalgia, yearning, or perhaps merely restfulness in a troubled mind. Sometimes the Corrine's sultry singing will emphasize infectious choruses over their nightclub arrangements ['Who's Been Sleeping', 'Closer Than The Sun'] while in another movement you'll be shooting down the city streets to the pulse of midnight ['World Out Of Control', 'Make You Say'] and wonder where you might be going when the moon is only a dot on the horizon.

Fans of anything related to trip-hop or nu-jazzy/soulful pop music with a 90's flair will tear into this bitch faster than you can say "gorgonzola". Feast your ears!

Listen Here - "Happy When You're High"

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