Swing Out Sister don’t make too many records these days. In fact this ten tracker is their first release in four years…. but like all their albums, ‘Private View’ offers the duo’s ultra distinctive, instantly recognizable, classy, sophisticated take on Brit soul. Released to celebrate the bands 25th anniversary, the LP revisits some of the highlights of their career but Andy (Connell) and Corinne (Drewery) skilfully and playfully re-work things so that the set sounds like a brand new, fresh affair.
Like many of their “proper” albums, this one is a great mix of self-penned items and astutely chosen covers. There are two covers here – The Delfonics’ ‘La La Means I Love You’ and Barbara Acklin’s ‘Am I The Same Girl’. On the former Andy and Corinne eschew the symphonic approach that writer and original producer Thom Bell gave it and the pair’s new, laid back, lounge jazz setting really does make the song live again. They work the same kind of magic on ‘Am I The Same Girl’. The ultra catchy song has long been a mainstay of their live shows and here they recreate the effortless, gentle Latin- inflected vibe of the Mizells… little wonder that towards the end they segue into ‘Places and Spaces’ (that delightful Donald Byrd/Mizell creation).
Of the “original” songs, ‘Breakout’ takes pride of place simply because it was the start of it all. This new version (Fabulous Party Mix) is slowed right down and though lacking the breezy optimism of the original, it works. The other songs – all guaranteed to pleasure old fans and win over newcomers – are ‘Incomplete Without You’, ‘You On My Mind’, ‘And The Flowers Will Grow’, ‘Notgonnachnage’ and ‘Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool’. Add to those the two instrumentals ‘It May Not Be Enough’ and the Taj Calder homage ”Now You’re Not Here’ and you have a collection that will keep Swing out Sister in the Brit soul Premier League… and hopefully it won’t be four years before we have another album from them.