The opener of Where Our Love Grows
, Swing Out Sister
's eighth proper studio album, will knock out fans of the group's perfectly huge and swanky production. "Love Won't Let You Down" is a brassy stunner and a great way to high kick the door open, but it gives way to the lesser title track, a sweet number but nothing approaching a single. That's the problem for outsiders looking for another "Breakout," and it's been the problem for a while. So why is this stuck-in-a-rut band so beloved? It's the structure of the songs -- grand and warm with winks and giggles from the string and horn sections -- and Corinne Drewery
's lovely and powerful voice, as bright here as it ever was. It's a delightful combination and almost enough to carry the listener through the album's low points. The Brazilian-flavored "Caipirinha" is a pointless "ba-ba-ba-bu-da" number that sounds like the band parodying itself, and the reprise of "Where Our Love Grows" stuck in the middle of the album is an instant skip. Luckily, the album's second half makes up for some of it with the snappy "Let the Stars Shine" and "Happy Ending," which has some twists and turns you'll want to stick with. There's a whole lot of references to time lost, regrets, and other wistful reflections, and the lyrics just hang on, slipping into cliché too often and in dire need of a Hal David
touch. Of course, nobody does style over substance better than Swing Out Sister
, Where Our Love Grows
being a great example. If it's a sunny, breezy day and you're in bubbly love, go ahead. Just don't expect to remember you own a copy come fall.