More swinging, instantly likable Burt Bacharach-style retro pop from the U.K. duo fronted by Corinne Drewery. Like a pre-Todd Terry, frown-free Everything But the Girl, SOS is at its sophisticated best on the Japanese No. ... more »1 "Somewhere in the World," a jazzy "Now You're Not Here," and the irresistible cover of "Stoned Soul Picnic." --Jeff Bateman« less
More swinging, instantly likable Burt Bacharach-style retro pop from the U.K. duo fronted by Corinne Drewery. Like a pre-Todd Terry, frown-free Everything But the Girl, SOS is at its sophisticated best on the Japanese No. 1 "Somewhere in the World," a jazzy "Now You're Not Here," and the irresistible cover of "Stoned Soul Picnic." --Jeff Bateman
"The lyrical realm of Swing Out Sister is a place where perfect love exists, as does perfect heartbreak...and the very best of the group's recorded work reflects these opposing inspirations. From the brassy exuberance of their debut album through the sonic subtleties of "Shapes and Patterns," S.O.S. has given listeners a virtual roller coaster ride through emotional highs and lows. It's not a coincidence that this album's graphics depict a boardwalk and carnival rides; those images are both lyrically and aurally present in the recording itself.If it sounds like I'm spouting ephemera or high-flown language, consider the album itself. Song for song it is undeniably the perfect combination of SOS' favorite sentiments; optimism, romance, emotional thrillseeking, and conversely, loss, separation and melancholy. It is not an album you'd want to take as an example for your own thoughts and deeds, unless it mirrors what's already inside your head and heart.As someone who occasionally falls into that last category, I can say that this album is very dear to me. Many of the songs have come to represent times of my life, good or bad, when I turned to music for enjoyment or solace. At first I was impressed by the glossy sound and seamless production, but that's pretty much the standard for SOS to date.What was simply aural wallpaper slowly became a set of memorable, utterly tuneful songs that had to be turned UP, and appreciated to the fullest. "Somewhere In The World" heralds the Pop experience to come, clear and resonant like a bell. "Here And Now" slows the tempo a bit, and Corinne offers a seldom-heard vote of confidence for the Present. "We Could Make It Happen" was the dynamic first single from the album, an uptempo, Latin-inflected tune practically made for the dancefloor.The "Shapes and Patterns" theme that follows is a wonderful bit of '60s vocal nostalgia, an artful and airy (wordless) pastiche. The slightly bittersweet tone is later echoed by "Something Out of This World," "You Already Know," and "Now You're Not Here." The murky atmospherics of "Icy Cold as Winter" seem to signal that the sunny idealism of the carnival has come to a close, but then the dark tones are softened, and the song becomes a final ode to longing and wistful memories.My personal favorites include the revised version of "Better Make It Better," which is probably the most sing-able "self-help" song I've ever heard. I also recommend SOS' cover of the 5th Dimension chestnut, "Stoned Soul Picnic." It was a perfect choice for a 'revival', and makes plain the group's reverance for their vocal predecessors as well as their homage to classic Pop-Soul songwriters like Laura Nyro.The elements of '60s inspired optimism are overall a fitting complement to SOS' mastery of contemporary Popcraft. Whether you are the type of person to look back with fondness, or to look forward with hopes and dreams, this CD could well be the soundtrack to your experiences. It has been for me.-Mic"
Alain Brouillaud | Helsinki, FINLAND | 03/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A GREAT CD! After you listen to this wonderful montage of music you'll be asking yourself this question: what are the folks at Mercury Records thinking about? To me, Mercury not being able to market SOS is like Nike not being able to market Pete Sampras.From beginning to end "Shapes & Patterns" is filled with rythm, melody, harmony and a lot of soul. Cuts like "Somewhere In The World" and "We Can Make It Happen" are songs that could easily fill the void in today's "lite" format. "Now You're Not Here" was the biggest song in Japan, but never released as a single in the US. Songs like "Always" and "Stoned Soul Picnic" are filled with such spirit you'll find yourself singing and clapping along.Those of us who are SOS fans just can't get enough of them. If you really sit down and listen to this CD, you'll find yourself wanting to buy the rest of their collection - a very good investment indeed!"
Great SOS album
Alain Brouillaud | 12/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What an outstanding album. Every song has hit potential. This is one of the few albums I own (700+) that I can truly say that I enjoy every track. Definitely a soundtrack for the soul."
Natasha | spartanburg, sc | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A Masterpiece! I love this album, and every song on it. I could play it over, and over again, and never get tired of it. I have always liked Swing Out Sister, since "Breakout" in '87, "Am I the Same Girl" in '92, along with others. But, liked turned into love afer I heard this album. This is by far the best album, and best music I have ever listened to in my life! I don't know what category you put it in-but it's Jazzy R+B to me. "Here and Now" is my favorite song of all time! That is seriously a life changing song. "Somewhere in the world", "We could make it happen", "You already Know", "Always", "Something out of this world" are amazing too. Actually, every song is perfect. If I had to choose one album to listen to for the rest of my life, this would be the one. I remember when I was in a music store several years ago, and I heard this song they were playing, and I just loved it. So I asked someone who worked there if that was Swing Out Sister, because it sounded like them. They said it was, and that the name of the song was "somewhere in the world". So, I said "unreal", that sounds so great", and bought it. I thought that song might be the only one I would like, but I loved them all so much, I listened to it non-stop the whole day and night, and I think every minute of the next day too. I just couldn't put it down. It was that mesmerizing, and addicting for me. I love their style-uplifting, motivating, inspiring, and dreamy, with a "these dreams can come true" attitude. Corinne Drewery has a terrific voice-I love it. She has a great range too-she naturally has a little deeper voice, but hits, and holds the high notes perfect as well-like in "We can make it Happen", and "Something out of this world". And you are like "oh my gosh, how does she hit those high notes so perfect?" She is so versatile, and gifted. Very much "pick me up" music-fun, inspiring, and soothing. Thank you Swing out Sister-for such an amazing album!"
Outstanding Retro Pop from Swing Out Sister
Jerry Dunn | Santa Rosa, CA United States | 05/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How often do you get to hear a collection of songs that grab you from the very first track, and continue to grab you with each and every subsequent track? Much in the vein of Kaleidascope World, every song has some hook to it that is incredibly delightful. In particular, "Here and Now", sounds amazingly like it could have been written and conducted by Burt Bacharach at the height of his career, yet still sounds fresh and hip. "Stoned Soul Picnic" manages to virtually recreate the sound and feel of the 5th Dimension, but lays it over a grittier, more danceable rhythm section groove that makes the song come alive again. The lead singer's vocals, sort of an Astrid Gilberto meets Motown, are incredible as she darts in and out of the mix of the various songs, often giving up on lyrics to joyfully scat and become another instrument in the lush orchestral arrangements. An incredible treat!"