Picks and Pans Review: Tinderbox

updated 06/09/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/09/1986 01:00AM

Siouxsie and the Banshees

When they clanged and banged onto the British punk scene in 1976, Siouxsie and the Banshees were written off by some as mere imitators of David Bowie in his more decadent days. But lead singer Siouxsie Sioux proved them wrong. Today she is a rock cult heroine and the dark, ominous sound of the Banshees appeals to more rockers with each new album. Part of the appeal has always been the band's fashion statement. Aside from her black leather, Siouxsie wears the exaggerated makeup of a silent-movie star, with her white-powdered face, black rings around her eyes and dark lipstick that peaks in a jagged V above the middle of her top lip. Another draw is the Banshees' loud, emotional and sometimes very danceable music, topped by Siouxsie's poetic lyrics. The eight tunes on Tinderbox, the band's sixth U.S. release, hold together like the sound track for a film catalog of the world's problems. The lyrics describe the lure of drugs, the gore of battle, the annihilation of the world. In Cities in Dust, ironically the most melodic song on the album, Siouxsie takes a leap from her trademark throaty chanting into some anguished neo-yodeling as she sings: "Hot and burning—in your nostrils/Pouring down your gaping mouth/Your molten bodies-blanket of cinders/Caught in the throes...And your city lies in dust." Devotees of such gloomy images will enjoy the comparatively benign fire that Siouxsie's Tinderbox starts on the dance floor. (Geffen)

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