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It's Better to Travel

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Album Review

Less overtly jazz influenced than their later albums (and the only album on which the core duo of keyboardist Andy Connell and singer Corrine Drewery is joined by drummer Martin Jackson, who had formed the group with Connell in 1985), Swing Out Sister's 1987 debut It's Better to Travel is a dreamy collection of mostly electronic pop songs that manages to sound warmly organic through the judicious use of real strings and horns and Drewery's lovely voice, which recalls the throaty purr of vintage Dusty Springfield. The album spawned a worldwide hit in the coolly sophisticated "Twilight World" and an all-time classic in the sunny opening track "Breakout," one of the finest U.K. pop singles of the late '80s and one of the few hits from its era that doesn't sound completely dated in retrospect, but unlike many albums in this style, It's Better to Travel works as a complete unit. Album tracks like the Northern soul-tinged "Fooled by a Smile" and the cinematic instrumental "Theme From It's Better To Travel" are every bit as good as the singles, and the well-paced album has a natural flow. The CD adds four bonus tracks, remixes of the two hit singles, and "Surrender," plus the meditative instrumental "Communion."

Customer Reviews

Break past Breakout...

If all you know of this album is the over played hit Breakout, skip it, and listen to the rest of the album. Swingout Sister created a dark, moody sound that remains fresh and relevant today. The entire album works well. It's too bad that Breakout, which is a great song, was such a huge hit, because it influenced, I believe, their efforts in their next albums, and took them away from their better stuff. But, it remains a solid album in my collection.

(Still) Contemporary and Fresh Jazz/Pop

What a great album. The songwriting here is superb...everything is listenable and enjoyable! You can sample any of this on I-tunes and catch the hooks. Forget buying the individual songs...get the entire release because it's really that darned good. Still a fresh-sounding and distinct jazz/pop sound long after its release.

So Cool

A classic case of an impossible-to-duplicate debut, Swing Out Sister's "It's Better to Travel" is so good it doesn't matter if nothing that followed could compare. Despite many quality singles, even a greatest-hits concept doesn't suit this group as well as their first album. Sounding like a combination of The Style Council and Sade, "It's Better to Travel" breezes through the jazzy-soul soundscape of a hip cocktail lounge. Pour an iced beverage, lay back with eyes closed, and take a little trip with Swing Out Sister. It's among the most refreshing pop surprises of the 80s.


Formed: 1985 in Manchester, Lancashire, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although Swing Out Sister's music is unashamedly commercial pop, their impeccable indie credentials (keyboardist Andy Connell and drummer Martin Jackson were formerly of A Certain Ratio and Magazine, and singer Corrine Drewery had no professional experience at all before joining), jazz-tinged arrangements, and knack for clever hooks move them closer to the indie dance territory of St. Etienne or late period Everything But the Girl than to the cookie-cutter dance-pop of Kylie Minogue or Paula Abdul....
Full Bio
It's Better to Travel, Swing Out Sister
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Customer Ratings