The term "sophisti-pop" may not be used much in rock criticism nowadays, but when they were, it was easy to acknowledge Swing Out Sister as a key artist of the movement. The Manchester-bred band stood head and shoulders above many of their keyboard-oriented contemporaries in mid-'80s England for mixing jazzy horn sections and lush synth-strings into their upbeat, snappy tunes. And this summer, the band's original label, Mercury Records, is commemorating the band's quarter-century mark with an expansion of their lauded debut LP, It's Better to Travel.
Swing Out Sister, then a trio consisting of singer Corrine Drewery, keyboardist Andy Connell and drummer Martin Jackson, recorded It's Better to Travel with producer Paul Staveley O'Duffy, crafting an immaculate batch of songs that included U.K. hits "Twilight World" and "Surrender" (the latter a Top 10 hit in the group's native land), not to mention the international smash "Breakout." The infectious, danceable tune went to No. 4 in the U.K. and No. 6 in America, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. (The trio earned another nomination that same year for Best New Artist.)
Though Jackson would depart the group during the making of sophomore album Kaleidoscope World in 1989, Swing Out Sister continue on as a duo; their most recent release, 2008's Beautiful Mess, topped Billboard's Jazz chart. And It's Better to Travel is further immortalized with a double-disc deluxe edition that features 11 bonus tracks, including non-LP B-sides, all the remixes from original CD pressings and more. While some SOS fans have taken the expanded set's track listing to task, namely our pals at Super Deluxe Edition (which ultimately earned a response from Connell), the final word on the set's worth, as always, sits with you, the consumer - and you can make your voice heard when the set hits U.K. shops on July 2.
Full specs are after the jump!
It's Better to Travel: 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition (Mercury 5338878 (U.K.), 2012)
Disc 1: Original LP and bonus tracks
- Twilight World (Superb Superb Mix)
- After Hours
- Blue Mood
- Fooled by a Smile
- It's Not Enough
- Theme (from "It's Better to Travel")
- Another Lost Weekend (Long Version)
- Blue Mood (12" Version)
Disc 2: More bonus material
- Breakout (NAD Mix)
- Surrender (Stuff Gun Mix)
- Communion (Instrumental)
- Twilight World (Gas Distress Mix)
- Fooled by a Smile (12" Mix)
- Dirty Money
- Who's to Blame
- Wake Me When It's Over
Disc 1, Tracks 1-9 released as Mercury LP OUTLP1, 1987
Disc 1, Track 10 from Another Non-Stop Sister (Mercury PPD-1031 (JP), 1986)
Disc 1, Track 11 from Mercury 12" single MERXR207, 1985
Disc 2, Tracks 1 and 6 from Mercury 12" single SWING 212, 1986
Disc 2, Tracks 2 and 8 from Mercury 12" single SWING 312, 1986
Disc 2, Track 3 from Mercury 12" single 870 242-1, 1987
Disc 2, Track 4 from original CD pressings - Mercury 832 213-2, 1986
Disc 2, Tracks 5 and 7 from Mercury 12" single SWING 512, 1987
Disc 2, Track 9 from Mercury 12" single MERX207, 1985
Any word on extra effort they might be putting into remastering? I believe the domestically available version has been around since the eighties, and sounds it. 24 bit would be nice.....