This re-issue of The Bluebells classic debut album "Sisters" is slightly different to the original album in that the opening song Everybody's Somebody's fool is a different version to the original album version and they have added Aim In Life and Some Sweet Day both of which were produced by Elvis Costello, It also has slightly different artwork to make fans know it is the re-issue and not the original.
From the opening harmonica of Everybody's Somebody's Fool this album feels like an old friend has come to visit as this different mix of the classic opening song to The Bluebells monument of a perfect slice of power pop puts a smile on my face that doesn't let up, the strings work really well on it too.
Young At Heart still sounds as great as it ever has, even if my girlfriend insists on trying to dance like she's wearing dungarees while playing the violin while it plays, of course how can you not sing along to this classic slice of 80's pop, that I've loved since first hearing John Peel play the version on one of the bands peel sessions way back when. I just hope that all of the band still feel as Young At Heart as they did when they recorded it. Oh and The Bluebells version is the classic rather than Bananarama's take on it as it was co-written by Rodger Hodgens (Bobby Bluebell) and Siobhan Fahey.
I'm Falling is a lovely song of heartbreak built around a sparse guitar figure that like much of this album has me singing along from the first time I hear it as the songs are ingrained in my brain, despite the fact that I didn't buy the album first time around, I certainly heard the songs often enough and this has enough flourishes and touches to show just why the Glasgow sound of the early 80's was so important and why it's an enduring hit song.
Will She Always Be Waiting has a delicious chamber pop sound with the strings (Arranged by the god-like Ray Russell) accentuating the yearning in the vocals as they hope that the object of there desire will always wait for them. If her heart doesn't melt to the string swell in the middle of the song it never will.
Some Sweet Day is gently bucolic song of love and heartfelt emotions with some luscious, muted trumpet to help us all we could spend Some Sweet Day with the woman they so desire to spend it with.
The A-side closes with what for me was always the bands monumental hit Cath a totally perfect slice of fey pop with that heart breaking chorus where they let us know they had been led up the garden path again. For me this song evokes memories of hearing it played at a packed Club Silver and just about everyone singing along to the chorus. I know every time I hear it, I will be singing it for days afterwards.
The B-side opens with Red Guitars that isn't a tribute to the Peel favorites of the time The Red Guitars as this is classic pop rather than being in hock to good or bad technology as the jangly guitars make listening to the message of change and hope in the lyrics.
Syracuse University is a cool tribute to the American university that Lou Reed studied under Delmore Schwartz at, even if that's not the angle The Bluebells took to asking questions about some events at the University over twanging guitars and a gentle undertow of strings.
Aim In Life is gentle almost acapella song that when the music comes in is very gently re-working Sloop John B's music as they ask how someone can lose all there ambition and why they might be considering ending it all.
Learn To Love has a big brassy Northern Soul stomper feel to it with gospel tinged backing vocals and a wonderful trumpet part as they implore us all to Learn To Love. This also sounds like the sort of song Paul Weller tried very hard to make later in his career. This really sounds brilliant with so much going on in the mix.
South Atlantic way is a great song about the futility of war and the madness that was The Falklands war, it's thoughtful and questioning of the reasons you'd agree to travel to the ends of the earth to fight and kill someone. That they wrap up their points in some light indie pop makes it all the more effective as some of us are still trying to figure out why we fought the Falklands war or any of the other wars this country has fought in since that one.
The album closes with the Patriots Game another hard hitting anti-war song that they make sure we all know what pain and sorrow awaits those of you that sing up to the Patriot Game in the case of this song the battle for Irish independence, this is stirring and passionate reading of Dominic Behan's classic Irish folk song.
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