By Corinne Love
By Corinne Love
The voice is unmistakable. That creaky, almost witch-like voice, and faster than you can say,
“I’ll get you my little pretty,” it’s Siouxsie Sioux. Known as the influential front woman for 80s pioneers Siouxsie and the Banshees, Siouxsie strikes it on her own on her first solo effort, “Mantaray.”
“Mantaray,” is a clever and straight to the point album, packed into a tight 10 track album. The album’s opener “Into a Swan” lures listeners in with its chugging guitars, its dance-floor ready and eager.
Siouxsie indulges listeners with the bold statement “I burst out-I’m transformed.” The lyric speaks as a theme for “Mantaray.” While it doesn’t break any new ground stylistically, it’s flawless in its creation.
“Here comes that day” a glossy sheen of minced words and choppier percussion could be the backdrop for a black and white 60s espionage flick, with Siouxsie playing the vixen.
Known throughout the press for being somewhat of an ‘Ice Queen’ almost knowingly, she plays up the role only to warn her critics “here comes the rain on your parade.”
Recently, the title ‘Women in Rock’ has been applied to basically any female artist who has a band backing her up, and the addition of a guitar here and a bass line there, “Mantaray” is a refreshing listen.
Its contained subtlety is a nice contrast to the lackluster of some female alternative music that uses wizard production and smoke and mirrors. It’s the real thing.
“Mantaray” shouldn’t be hailed as a comeback, Siouxsie really didn’t go anywhere, and it should be more noted as a re-emergence. Newly divorced, Siouxsie worked with her then husband of the Creatures, before doing her own solo live show: “The Dreamshow.”
Stepping out on her own, producers Steve Evans and Charlie Jones (whom also worked with Goldfrapp) should be credited with not prompting an album that shows a “new” Siouxsie primed for the iPod generation.
After all, her influence can be heard from Bono of U2, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Shirley Manson of garbage.
Those expecting Banshees material will be in for pleasant surprises with “Loveless,” rough industrial and textured, while “Drone Zone” toys around with kooky noise effects and instrumentation.
Yet, on the amazing “One Mile Below” those traces of Siouxsie and the Banshees can definitely be heard, with the taiko style drumming and Siouxsie’s ever-reaching vocal stretches.
Equally satisfying are the ballads “If it doesn’t kill you,” and “Heaven and Alchemy.”
Of the latter, the ‘Ice Queen’ removes the persona, revealing, “You’re in love with the idea of me.” For old fans and newer ones alike, it’s difficult not to be.