Siouxsie & the Banshees

Charisma and brains still count for something when it comes to rock 'n' roll, as Siouxsie and the Banshees prove on their eighth full-length studio release. At first, Siouxsie's singing sounds thin, with a limited vocal range. But listen to the nuances and she becomes at once as sexy as Debbie Harry and as tough as Chrissie Hynde. Siouxsie, who had previously written most of her own material, gives her talent a new spin on Through the Looking Glass, choosing an eclectic batch of other people's songs. She shifts from the Doors' You're Lost Little Girl to the Billie Holiday classic Strange Fruit. Toning down their guitars and drums from previous albums, the Banshees have added imaginative, often strange background effects. Strange Fruit, for instance, is accompanied by the sound of wind blowing, a discordant string arrangement and an oompah horn combo reminiscent of Kurt Weill. It doesn't always work. This Wheel's On Fire, written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko, makes a mediocre dance tune. But Trust in Me, sung by Sterling Holloway as the voice of Kaa the snake in the Disney cartoon film The Jungle Book, gives Siouxsie a new appeal. Accompanied by airy harp music, she purrs like Eartha Kitt. With such an ability to surprise and enthrall it's no wonder Siouxsie remains a cutting-edge cult heroine after all these years. (Geffen)

  • Contributors:
  • Michael Small,
  • Ralph Novak.