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Kaleidoscope World

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Album Review

After the, er, "Breakout" success of Swing Out Sister's initial releases, co-founder Martin Jackson took a back seat to the contributions of Andy Connell and vocalist Corinne Drewery. With legendary pop songwriter and producer Jimmy Webb providing arrangements, Kaleidoscope World is perhaps as pure a pop album as there could be in the two-dimensional plastic world of the late '80s. The record is chock full of lush, lively arrangements dominated by big, boisterous horns and Drewery's rich, Dusty Springfield-esque vocal. It's not surprising that Swing Out Sister found their biggest audience in Japan; that country's Pizzicato Five draws upon the same honey pot of influences, adding an electronic twist. SOS employs synths, too, most effectively as the bubbling undercurrent of "Waiting Game" or on the theatrical instrumental "Kaleidoscope Affair." But the group's ability to replicate classic forms with new technology is still its strongest suit. The technicolor horns and rich strings of cuts like "You on My Mind" and "Where in the World" draw a direct line from the 1960s, while "Tainted" grooves on an organ that suggests the later cut-and-paste work of pop experimentalists Stereolab. This CD reissue of Kaleidoscope World fleshes out the set list with instrumental versions of "Precious Words" and "Masquerade," a string mix of "Forever Blue," and the additional instrumental "Coney Island Man," which is perfect Nehru suit-wearing music.

Customer Reviews

The Best Pop Album of All Time!?

This is probably my favourite album of all time! It blends easy listening, pop and jazz so effortlessly. World for me is Swing Out Sister's most rockin' work to date! Its sexy, but in a smouldering come-hither-hip-shakin'-kinda way. My favourites are Precious Words and Tainted

Forever Blue!

What a marvelous album of music. This is pop music at its most joyful and engaging. Andy and Corrine deliver one after another 60s-style pop arrangements that grow stronger and more endearing over time. Forever Blue, the laid back ballad with the harmonica, is a song that showcases Corrines wonderful soulful delivery and silky, multi-level alto. Each cut on this album is worthy of praise; the entire set is comparable to the best "whole albums", such as The Allman Brothers at the Filmore East, The Beatles Abbey Road, or Mark Knopfler's great solo effort Shangrila. Each unique, each with their own brand of genius. No, SOS doesn't have Duane or Mark playing guitar, but those guys never had Corrine singing for them. Kaleidoscope World is better 60s Pop than was ever made in the 60s. Buy this one and play it start to finish once. You will surely do it again and again. A must have for anyone who simply likes to listen in amazement and rock out to the joy.

Stands the test of time!

This is a pop masterpiece which has stood the test of time. Pop really doesn't describe it properly. It's so good.

This album was great back in the day and to this day it's still fabulous! It's so great on many levels; vocals, strings, chord changes, complex harmony, brass, &c. Sounds OK on headphones. SOS was/is highly under-rated and is far superior to others from their day. Highly recommended for fans of pop, power-pop, Burt Bacharach, Nellie McKay, Elvis Costello, Raspberries, Todd Rundgren, 5th Dimension, Stylistics, Jimmy Webb, etc...

Absolutely stunning and still relevant in the 21stC. On a critical note, it could stand to benefit from a re-mix.


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
Kaleidoscope World, Swing Out Sister
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Customer Ratings