Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm in love with the idea of Siouxsie Sioux

It's probably been a long time coming, but Siouxsie Sioux has finally swept the Banshees under the floorboards and she's checked the Creatures into her local vet. Siouxsie has gone solo. Surprisingly, her debut album, 'Mantary', is a joy to behold... well, almost.

Before the Banshees split up years ago, they released a cool song entitled 'Peek-A-Boo' which featured the catchy lyric, "Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those peepers?" The track was a departure from the Banshees signature distorted guitar sound. 'Peek-A-Boo' was a chopped up, beat-driven burlesque monster whose signature instrument was an accordian. The band seemed to be moving in a new direction, but sadly, their audience did not.

Similarly, on her new solo album, Mantaray, Siouxsie tends to put less focus on guitars. From track 3, Here Comes That Day, she delivers a song that is faintly reminiscent to Peek-A-Boo. But it's track 4, Loveless, that starts to give the album a life of its own. "It's a sick and twisted game. To and fro and back again." In comes the glorious tones of the glockenspiel that Siouxsie first experimented on the Creatures' debut album, Feast.

For an album that starts off with two cliche guitar songs, the predictable Into A Swan and the no-name pop rocker About To Happen, Siouxsie moves on from her Banshee roots in favour for something a bit more personal and experimental. If It Doesn't Kill You is a haunting ballad that sees our beloved Siouxsie steeped in a golden liquid vocal. It's gorgeous.

One Mile Below sees Siouxsie in Creatures territory with a Phil Spector wall of sound driven by a burundi rhythm track. Drone Zone shifts the album into a shuffling, jazzy swingbeat mode. It's eccentric, quirky and addictive to listen to. While Bjork tends to go for high drama, Siouxsie's more like a kitten with a whip.

Marvel at the pop perfection of They Follow You. It starts off with a marching drum beat and breaks into a colour musical arrangement that sounds both hopeful and momentous. It's Siouxsie's swansong. It's cool, Pan European, cinematic and sexy.

The album closes with the sparse piano track 'Heaven and Alchemy'. "I'm in love with the idea of you in rush reality," sings Siouxsie. And so she should be. The album's a wake up call and will hopefully kill off the old punk rockers who thought they were going to get Arabian Nights II.

With all the recent spate of reunions, not to mention the desperate return of the Sex Pistols, its nice to know that Siouxsie isn't reforming the Banshees. That chapter is over.

Shirley 'Garbage' Manson may have a hard time following this with her highly anticipated solo album, but for the moment, Siouxsie is still sitty pretty.

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