SWING OUT SISTER
"Where Our Love Grows"
When Corrine Drewery of Swing Out Sister croons, "I'm gonna take you to a place that I know," brace yourself. With a voice that falls into the romantic divide between Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield and a taste for lushly orchestrated ballads, Drewery can turn back the clock faster than you can say Burt Bacharach.
"Where Our Love Grows" is the first release in seven years by SOS -- Drewery and longtime partner, Andy Connell -- though nothing much has changed. The 20-year-old British duo is still smitten with the layered sound of '60s pop, and still cranking out smartly produced and thoroughly evocative tunes that do justice to the duo's myriad, if mostly mainstream, pop influences -- Bacharach/Hal David, the 5th Dimension, the Carpenters and primetime Motown.
Drewery's sensuous voice and the studio craft of multi-instrumentalist Connell go hand in hand on the standout tracks, including the swirling title cut and the brassy anthem "Love Won't Let You Down." That's not always the case, though, and when Drewery's lead vocals are subtracted from the mix on the instrumental tracks, the loungey atmospherics take a toll.
Canadian singer-songwriter-MC Kinnie Starr is too enamored of hip-hop, rock and electronica to look back for long. "Sun Again," her latest (and third) release, has plenty of ups and downs, thanks to its shifting moods and some overreaching performances. But more often than not, her vocal talent and winning wordplay shine through, beginning with the languorous opener "Come." Her voice is distinctive enough to carry the entire session, and though she has been pegged as a "trip-hop diva," "Super Clever" and other tracks prove she's more quick-witted than most.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Tuesday at the Birchmere.