Wilson Library Review (September '91)

"Music On Track"

By Toby Goldstein

An enormous number of young raw bands came crashing onto the British punk scene fifteen years ago, but few have outlasted their intial shock value, much less matured to expand their audience past the spikey-haired, safety-pinned set. Siouxsie and the Banshees are a group of survivors whose erotic image undertones and willingness to experiment both musically and lyrically have gradually won them critical respect, although corresponding fame continues to elude them in the U.S. "Superstition," the Banshees first album in three years, epitomizes the frightening but sensual charisma of this perpetually elusive group. Produced by Mike Hedges [Stephen Hague] who worked on the Pet Shop Boys tantalizing hit of a few years ago, "West End Girls," the album clarifies Siouxsie's princess-of-the-ice-caverns vocals just a touch and sparks the musicians' playing with right degree of clarity for the 1990s. "Kiss Them For Me," with its come hither refrain set to a shimmery background, could easily make the Banshees just right for American radio breakthrough, without compromising the group's insistence on maintaining the mystery of its music.

Banshees' devotees, however, will probably favor some of Superstition's more challenging songs, such as the chilling "Drifter," reflective of a midnight stroll through vampire country, or "Silver Waterfalls," an atmospheric piece in which drummer Budgie, bassist Steven Severin, keyboardist Martin McCarrick, and guitarist Jon Klein exhibit their considerable gifts. While Siouxsie and the Banshees rely largely on their own inner landscapes for inspiration, they are acutely aware of the outside world, as shown in the poignant "The Ghost in You," which calls up echoes of the tradgedy in China's Tiananmen Square.

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