Unknown source 1999  
  Since the demise of The Banshees, Siouxsie Sioux and hubby percussionist Budgie have been writing a new Creatures album.  Tentatively titled Gift Horse, it was recorded at Siouxsie's abode in Toulouse, France and mixed in New York and Paris.  Due out on Geffen in September, it apparently sounds like a cross between The Prodigy, Doors and Banshees.  'Very in yer face progressive pop music,' says a spokesperson.  



  Uncut 1999  
  Brute's foresight

Third Creatures album - a drum 'n' voice affair from Siouxsie & Budgie.

'Here it comes again, taste of jagged glass...'  Ah, yes, that's the stuff.  You can take the Siouxsie out of The Banshees but you can't take the hurricanes, monsoons and tidal waves - not to mention hordes of locusts and a 'urine-coloured sun' - out of her psyche.  Sioux on the third Creatures album, the first for a decade, is as fraught and darkly imaginative as ever, her every dream a nightmare.  On 'Take Mine' she asks, or rather demands, 'Are you happy now?'  You get the feeling she is, free from what she's called 'the massive juggernaut the Banshees became.'

It's the first Creatures album devised as a full-on statement of intent as opposed to an interim project, and Sioux and Budgie, chiefly recording what and when and where they want, sound enthused and almost crazily energetic.  The Sex Pistols' reunion of 1996 consolidated their loathing for nostalgia and pension funds.  They've been cocking an ear to nouveau noises: would you believe there's a drum 'n' bass break midway through the opening track?  Not that experiments in rhythm haven't occupied Budgie's bunsen-burner and pipette before.

So meaty beats drive Anima Animus through its relatively brief but captivating course.  It's relentlessly strident, a battering ram for a pulse.  Sioux's always been at her best as a harsh declaimer, PJ Harvey on steroids, but there are phases where she whispers, breathes, reaches for vulnerability.

The album's flush with the adrenaline you'd more commonly find on a debut.  Cited influences: Suicide, Cap Calloway, Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickinson, Anne Rice, Tricky.  Mainly, though, The Creatures get down with their bad selves.  'Second Floor' reels from synthy-disco stomp to domineering Burundi, and we're told, already, that their map's made of mercury.  'Disconnected' sings of Siberian winters to warm eager rhythms, its refrain coolly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song'.  'Turn It On' is jungle-cut boogie without the jungle, living up to Sioux's gleeful cry of 'Unpredictable!'  There's a mild respite from the shelling for 'Say' and 'I Was Me', which with its gothy acoustic chords seems - these days - incongruously flown in from another atmosphere.

'Prettiest Thing' is a malevolent mini-movie, Sioux panting of one of her classic psychotic females while echoes of Bolan and - I swear - David Essex's 'Rock On' bounce off the ceiling.  Now the blood's up, 'Exterminating Angel' tells of piss, sick and menstrual streams, while on 'Another Planet', crawling things with black tentacles 'are coming out of the walls'.  For a finale, our heroine drowns.  At least, that's my interpretation of the imagery's simmering violence.

Scream on, you'll say.  Yet The Creatures have jettisoned comfort and are phoning home from a new end zone.

Anima Animus crackles.  


Chris Roberts



Why your own label?

'The freedom: not having to ask if we can do things.  We put down a lot of ideas at home here in France - Budgie's drums sound fantastic in the tile dining room.  I honestly don't think we're marketable enough for a major in the current climate, thankfully!'

Do you miss being a Banshee?

'In the band we were always trying to find a window  for this, cramming it in.  There were limitations over creative decisions.  Now the possibilities are endless.'

You still enjoy unsettling lyrics?

'They just evolve and happen - my accidents can be far cleverer than when I try to be clever.  You create your own world, and with just the two of us it can be more spontaneous.  I can wake up from a dream and write it down while it's still on the tip of my tongue.  Likewise, we can immediately do anything with sounds while we're inspired, rather than waiting for everyone to regroup, by then it might be sterile.'

Are you fascinated by weather?

'Of course - I'm English!  Actually, everyone assumes we live in a place that's like the Costa de Sol but in fact we're in the mountains - we can get violent, outrageous storms.  Once we had hailstones the size of golfballs.  Like people were throwing bricks at the house.  We thought: fuck, is this thing coming down or what?  All our cats were crawling on their bellies.  The sound was amazing.'



  Webmaster 30/10/01  
  Anima Animus Advert - Click Here For Bigger ScanThe Creatures 1998, and it sounds it. Hard drum driven dance beats. The first few tracks leave you exhausted; there is no release from the hard, persistent drumbeat. It's LOUD; Siouxsie has lost some of the range of her voice, used to perfection on Boomerang. 2nd Floor is a momentous 'dance' track, heard best on the extended 'Siouxsie, Budgie and Warner Mix'. 

Disconnected and Turn It On are both substandard fodder, no surprises, harsh and unforgiving. 

Take Mine, oh dear, what's this a Banshees track (albeit a very good one) found it's way aboard? The Creatures augmenting their drum, percussion sound with guitar is very pedestrian on this track and not what I hoped for. 

The introduction of a more electronic sound is appropriate for the Creatures, but is perhaps a bit late in coming and not used in the most imaginative of ways. Pity after the more daring experimentation used on the Eraser Cut EP. Say, & Another Planet are great alternative dance/pop songs, but couldn't they be anyone if it weren't for Siouxsie's distinctive voice? 

Prettiest Thing is pure, brooding, dark electronica reminiscent of PJ Harvey perhaps, but probably the most original song here. 

Don't Go To Sleep, The Creatures do Portishead, eerie and creepy, a release from the unforgiving beat of the rest of the album, or ill at ease? 

The b-sides were few and far between, and pushed aside for remix city, something you either favour or despise. 

The album cover is gorgeous, but then being Pierre et Gilles how could it not be? Shame they didn't also include the Medusa headshot in the album artwork too. The single picture sleeves, whilst giving The Creatures a very strong identity, I could live without.



  Q 03/99  
  Anima Animus Advert - Click Here For Bigger ScanWhen the law of diminishing returns finally forced Siouxsie & The Banshees to announce their split in 1996, it was perhaps inevitable that the groupšs "couple in real life" would concentrate on their offshoot musical partnership that had already yielded Feast in 1983 and 1989šs Boomerang. The 10-track Anima Animus (available on CD and double 10-inch vinyl) is the first on their own label and itšs underpinned by this sense of indie liberty, as the pair retreat into the dance underground.  Bubbling synthesizers now augment the complex drum and marimba rhythms and in Prettiest Thing, Sioux even strays into Polly Harvey territory. Still, therešs little here to suggest that the pair are now keen to operate anywhere but on the fringes.   


  Mojo 1999  

Radical departure, at least, is the plan: a new sound for the woman who canšt hear the word "goth" without breaking out.  And some of Anima Animus does take a new route, first single Second Floor kicks off with a boystown club beat, but then Siouxsiešs Germanically dour vocal does its thing, and you find youšre on an A road heading back to the same old motorway.  Since the couple became The Creatures, therešs been a primitive vibe to them: Budgie pounding tympani like King Kong hammering his chest, Siouxsie wailing like Faye.  Now though, the tone gets darker by the minute, with murky synths and lyrics mining a seam of violent degradation mixed with the odd touch of sci-fi.  Turn It On, which opens with Budgie as the Burundi Drummers, is about vengeance as "the warlords";  I Was Me, an Ennio Morricone, style epic minus only a cracked church bell, is based on a Twilight Zone episode.  Prettiest Thing is unhealthy in an American Psycho way, while Exterminating Angel describes a post holocaust world with a "urine coloured sun", death and destruction, "Argonauts" and corrosive "menstrual streams".  All thatšs really missing is, um, a sense of irony, unless this psychotropic weirdness is strictly serious.  As a woman who would once have opened sizable veins for the Banshees, I have to say some tracks do what they do well, and Siouxsiešs voice is in fine form; itšs just that wešre up to our knees in doomy artifice, metaphors or not. And what wešre left with, just possibly, is goth, still snapping at Siouxsiešs heels like a jet black dog with a limp.