Friday, 6 February 2015

Swing Out Sister 'Breakout'

Chart Peak: 4
Charted at No. 57 on 21st October, had motored to No. 31 by the following week.
Unfortunately, there's only one poor copy of the official video on YouTube, though a better version can be seen here.
'Breakout' seems a confident choice of inclusion on here, as a single by a previously uncharted act which was only a minor hit at time of going to press, but it must have been visibly on an upward trajectory by then. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight it's hard to envisage this song ever not being a hit, but I suppose there have always been a lot of obvious hits that failed; indeed, whilst Swing Out Sister had a second Top 10 hit and a Number One album and have continued to record (though now reduced to a duo) into the 21st century, they haven't become the hitmaking machine that might once have been expected.

'Breakout' is very much an Eighties spin on Sixties pop, apparently a direction encouraged by producer Paul Staveley O'Duffy - who has continued to work with them as producer, musician and co-writer, so they presumably thought he was right - from the trio's jazzy origins. Conversely, O'Duffy was also insistent that the debut album be recorded with live string and brass sections. To his credit he not only used brass but made it sound like the real thing, in contrast to, say, 'Notorious' where live musicians blowing are so processed as to sound like cheap synthesisers. In Mark Cunningham's 1996 book Good Vibrations, O'Duffy recounts that he intentionally used the tattiest most damaged snare drum he could get hold of on this track to make it sound distinctive. All that and Corrine Drewery's idiosyncractic vocal melody make this a rare example of a big hit from this era that had enough polish to sound in place on radio at the time and yet not jarringly dated now. It may not be the most original song ever recorded but it was effervescent enough to stand out then and it still stands out now. Also, I've learnt that Corrine Drewery's mother founded a hedgehog rescue centre which is an admirable fact.

Also appearing on: Now 15
Available on: It's Better To Travel

No comments:

Post a Comment