INTO the mid-1980s mire of poodle perms, white stilettos, and tinny drum machines, Swing Out Sister breathed stylish cool air. From the shiny jazz-tinged pop, influenced by Bacharach and David, to Corrine Drewery’s style that merged androgyny with bright red lipstick, the razor-sharp bob that launched a thousand trips to the salon carved a smooth path through the charts.

Their break out single, ironically called Breakout, introduced the band here and in the US, reaching No1 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. The debut album, It’s Better To Travel, went platinum and brought two Grammy nominations.

However, the trio became a duo when Martin Jackson left during the recording of the second album, Kaleidoscope World, leaving Drewery and Andy Connell to continue. And they have, with the 10th album, Almost Persuaded, released on June 22.

Like many bands who have taken back control of how they make music, the album has been the result of a crowdfunded Pledge campaign, but one that was considerably longer than they first planned.

“We started this Pledge campaign about three years ago,” says Corrine Drewery. “We had already begun recording an album with cinematic arrangements of our old songs, but those who pledged seemed to be keen for us to write some new songs, so we changed direction. We thought it was going to take us a few months, but it's taken us a few years.

“The great thing about Pledge is it puts you in direct contact with the audience, and believe me, they give you a lot more encouragement and reason to go on than a manager or any record company. They were incredibly patient with us. At one point we even offered them their money back, but they were willing to wait. I think they knew that we wanted to get it right.”

Andy Connell believes that this way of working allows them to be a little more “forensic” in targeting their audience. “If you want to find them you can find them, and when you do it’s much easier to have a conversation with them.

“The downside of Pledge is that it feels like a bit of a gold rush – anyone can take part, but some people shouldn't,” he laughs. “And as you know, in the gold rush very few people actually struck gold.”

The Pledgers received their CDs last November, one of the benefits of supporting the process, but the public release will also be available on vinyl. “I thought we’d never see anything we did on vinyl again, so I was surprised by the demand,” adds Andy. “But I forget that some of the people who have been with us from the 80s will still have the original stuff kicking about!”

Listening to the CD, particularly through the recent good weather, Almost Persuaded is a sunny slice of feelgood summer music. “Yeah, these spells of good sunny weather are falling very nicely for us,” says Andy, “I'm looking ahead to the weather forecast for the release date. Music really does change, depending on the context that you're listening to it in.”

The band’s unmistakable sound is still there. A tip of the cap to cinematic Technicolour and a sixties songwriting vibe, which can equally lend itself to late-night listening.

“We’ve always done our own thing,” adds Connell, “and never been too influenced by what else is going on. I've always been slightly monk-like, especially when we're recording, but Corrie has been a little more receptive.

“I don’t think the records we’ve made are at all retro. I think we’re making the kind of music that was sidelined by punk and rock and others. If that hadn’t happened I think a lot of people would be making similar music to us.”

If the sound is still there, so is the style. The bob is back after years of being abandoned to different styles, and as Corrine worked in fashion design before joining the band, her eye for what suits her now is pretty unerring.

“I never wanted to be pink or fluffy or girly, and there was a lot of that when we first emerged. To be honest I wanted to look quite androgynous. Apart from being inspired by Annie Lennox in some ways, I loved the style of Bette Davis and Louise Brooks. I was never a sex bomb.”

She became something of a style icon, however, something that surprised Andy. “To be honest I'm not the most attentive to things like that, but I remember wandering around not just London but other places too, and seeing girls who had the stripy tops and the man’s jacket, and a haircut that was a very familiar to me. It's quite an interesting phenomenon when you see that happening. I think it only works if it’s authentic; you can’t plan that.”

For Corrine, it was simply a continuation of what she had been wearing at art school. “I wanted an element of freedom and something more durable. I think that's why I started to go towards men's clothes, because they tend to be better made. They last for years and much more flattering in the cut.”

I mention that we met way back then, when I was pop scribe for the teenage magazine Jackie. “Oh, did I tell you back then that I applied to be a fashion illustrator on Jackie? I was so inspired by the drawings of the long-legged girls with massive eyes and painted-on eyelashes – those made me want to study fashion.”

Apart from borrowing heavily from her style, I also tortured my Billie Holiday-loving flatmate with the relentless optimism of the 12-inch remix of Breakout.

“Ha! I think our music was probably a rebellion against the likes of Billie Holiday. My mum always listened to the blues and loved Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson. She would say ‘Why don't you sing like that?’.

“But I've always liked optimistic music. I think that we emerged at a time when things could be a little bit more moody. I don't think we were considered as being particularly cool at the time, but in hindsight people seem to appreciate what we did then.”

With the news that Hipsway are reforming, Corrine recalls their first tour in Scotland, supporting them. “That was a great way to see Scotland as well. We all piled in the back of a van and stayed in B&Bs. I think we benefited from an association with Hipsway and other Scottish bands who were label mates of ours like Texas and Wet Wet Wet.

“We did a gig in Glasgow – I think it was at the Pavilion – and at the aftershow, people were coming up to ask if we supported Celtic or Rangers. But there were crowds standing behind them, trying to tell us what we should or shouldn't say! I didn’t care of course, I was more interested in getting to see the Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms – but when I was looking for it I did ask someone where Susie Hall Street was!”

The fact that all the bands Corrine mentions are still working is a testament to the talent that emerged at that time, and all with voices that in many ways are better than they were in the 1980s.

“It's funny, people will say as you grow older you somehow lose your voice, but I found that with experience comes technique. Also, you’ve lived more, so have more to share. Recording the album ourselves means there is more time too. In the past when it's been left to other people, you might get a few takes and then that's it. Now I can wait until I’m in the right frame of mind to record vocals. When you’re in a studio full of people, the vocal becomes much more of a performance. But we could wait and record them late at night when there was no-one around. It’s more personal.”

Aside from Swing Out Sister, Andy has been involved in TV and film music as well as Manchester City podcasts, while Corrine does occasional DJ spots and hosts Vision On, one-off events where art is created to music.

They are also warming up for some live appearances. Initially a showcase and radio sessions in this country followed by a string of live dates in Japan.

“We have always had a big following there,” says Andy. “To be honest Japan has saved us on more than one occasion when things really haven’t been going our way, here or in America.

“For some reason the audience there really gets what we're doing. They are quite analytical and have a great vocabulary in terms of music. Japanese audiences hear every influence that you put in there – it's very rewarding.”

“Hopefully we can look at dates here,” adds Corrine, “but it’s a case of where we can play before we decide how big a touring band we can put together. It’s an expensive thing to do – no getting in the back of the van now – but the interest seems to be there and it’s great to have new songs to play.”

Almost Persuaded by Swing Out Sister is released on Friday, June 22.