|BOOMERANG - PRESS RELEASE|
Siouxsie Sioux (vocals)
Budgie (drums, percussion)
According to Budgie, Boomerang, the title of The Creatures’ second full-length album, refers to more than simply the return of this intriguing band after a hiatus of six years
'There’s also the connotation of being unpredictable, even a bit of a weapon,' he explains. 'Then there’s the sound of word: BOOM-a-RANG. There are noises built into the word. It’s a loud word. All of that seemed right with what we’re doing.'
What The Creatures do on Boomerang is continue to develop one of rock’s most fascinating and revolutionary musical ideas: A raw duet of voice and percussion. Stripped down to the distinctive voice of Siouxsie and the creative percussion of Budgie, with only the occasional brass interjection, The Creatures are an innovative musical original.
Further emphasizing The Creatures’ uniqueness, Boomerang was not recorded in a modern studio but rather in a former 11th century convent in rural Spain. The influence of the Spartan Andalucian countryside and the brow-melting Spanish summer is felt throughout the album, from the power of the first single Standing There to the light-hearted freedom of Speeding, from the flamenco theme of Manchild to the nocturnal steaminess of Simoom to the ethereal otherworldliness of Pluto Drive.
'Over the last few years, Siouxsie and I would watch the work of Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura and just scream,' says Budgie. 'It has such passion, the scores have such heavy percussion, and there is such a strength on the faces of the flamenco dancers in his films. When a Spanish dance troupe came to London, we saw them and they just bowled us away. It was a performance almost better than any band we had ever seen. We’ve always listened to music from other cultures and going to Spain was a chance to discover something new and let it seep into what we do.'
Following the Siouxsie & The Banshees tour for Peepshow (1998), singer-songwriter Siouxsie Sioux and singularly named drummer Budgie first retired in the spring of 1989 on the serene English retreat known as the House In The Woods in the solitude of the Surrey countryside. When they emerged, they decided it was time for a revival of The Creatures and they were determined not to record its next album in a studio. Instead, they would go mobile, with a 16-track console built some 20 years ago to record orchestras in concert halls. And they would go to Spain.
Entering that country form the north, they hired a car and drove south, staying in converted castles and convents hoping to find a place to record. Finally, near Cadiz, they arrived at the town of Jerez de la Frontera and a working ranch called La Penula, owned by an ex-bullfighter. In a former convent there, The Creatures began a May’s worth of recording.
'Spain affected us from day one,' Budgie continues. 'The landscape was unrecognizable, like we were on another planet. We didn’t realize how hot and dry it would be and how basic the facilities. We were very much isolated and had to rely on our own resources. There was no outside stimulus from the media. We couldn’t walk outside and step into London. We had the solitude needed to fine-tune ideas but because of the conditions weren’t able to labor over them either. So what we ended up with is raw and spontaneous and direct and intimate, which is what The Creatures is all about.'
He emphasizes that The Creatures and Siouxsie & The Banshees are decidedly different entities. 'The Creatures is another avenue for us to write down. There are a lot of weights laid on The Banshees. This is like a lifting off of those weights. And so the music is more uncontained and buoyant. It sounds very warm and from the heart.'
The groundbreaking Siouxsie & The Banshees was formed in 1976. Budgie initially joined for the tour following the group’s second album, Join Hands (1979), after stints with Big In Japan and The Slits. Overall, the band has released 10 albums and since 1984 has been heard on Geffen Records in North America. Boomerang is Geffen’s first release of The Creatures.
'As for its history, the genesis of The Creatures began during rehearsals for Siouxsie & The Banshees’ 1981 Juju album and Siouxsie and I were playing around with it, just a duet of voice and drums, when the others went out for a cup of coffee,' Budgie recalls. 'When they came back and we played it for them, they felt it didn’t need any more instrumentation. But when we found we already had enough material for Juju, we put it to the side.'
A few months later, Siouxsie and Budgie in 'a mad burst of energy and excitement,' decided to go into the studio for three days and push this spark of an idea further. 'We didn’t know where it would lead or what the end result might be.'
Assisted for the first time by Mike Hedges, who would become The Banshees’ co-producer, the pair recorded five songs, including “But Not Them” and the ‘60s Troggs classic Wild Thing. The latter title prompted the choosing the name The Creatures, as did Siouxsie and Budgie’s mutual fondness for animals and Maurice Sendak’s book Where The Wild Things Are as well as, adds Budgie with his typical humor, 'my hero worship of Animal, the drummer from the Muppets.'
The EP, Wild Things, was released in September 1981, and the single Mad Eyed Screamer went Top 15 in the U.K. The song’s video was inventive and highly controversial (as all The Creatures’ videos have been) and in fact, was banned from the airwaves.
At the time, Siouxsie and Budgie presumed that The Creatures was a one-off. Then, on New Year’s Eve, 1982, immediately after the end of a Banshees tour, they flew to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Says Budgie, 'We were overwhelmed – the roar of the sea, the vivid colors, Hawaiian singers chanting ancient riddles echoing in the eerie jungle ambience. We were inspired.'
In January 1983 The Creatures resurfaced, recording 10 tracks in Hawaii in two weeks. The album, Feast was released in the spring. The single, Miss The Girl, went Top 25 in the U.K. A non-album single, Right Now (a cover of a Mel Torme song Siouxsie remembered from childhood), reached the Top 15. Right Now also marked the first time The Creatures used the brass section of Peter Thoms (trombone) and Gary Barnacle (saxophone), who also contributes to Boomerang.
But then The Creatures went into hibernation, not to be heard from for six years.
'Even in America, people would always ask us if The Creatures were ever going to do anything again. But we had to feel that The Banshees were ready to accept the idea of this other band. We wanted them to know that we weren’t going to just wander off when things weren’t going well with the mother ship. Besides, we don’t have the capacity to do both at the same time. The Banshees have been in such a constant state of flux with replacing guitarists and trying to keep the band on an even keel, and then there was the two years of writing, recording, and then touring for Peepshow. We just didn’t have the time until recently.'
Looking back, he says, 'The first record was a sign of a need to burst out with unconstrained energy, the second was to escape and do something privately. Now, The Creatures is simply a different way of expressing ideas not contained in the other vehicle. On Boomerang, we weren’t just stumbling into it anymore but were much more considered.'
The Creatures’ existence also allows Budgie, who does not write lyrics for Siouxsie & The Banshees, to contribute in that area. 'With The Creatures, I can express myself in words – with the overseeing of Madame Siouxsie, of course. And both of us can carry ideas to the end without laying them open to the democratic process in a band. You have to be so patient in The Banshees. With this, we can be patient.'
As for the future, Budgie says another Banshees album will come next. There is also the possibility of The Creatures playing live for the first time ever. Then…
'There’s an ongoing process of writing words down, some of which are of a personal nature that don’t lend themselves to The Banshees. When they reach a boiling point, they will spill over into The Creatures. What’s nice is that The Creatures is so open-ended. We do it purely form the desire to do it.'The Creatures…unpredictable and marvelously dangerous…just like a boomerang.
'Siouxsie saw a news story about two villages in Colombia who have been feuding over a drug cartel. One town had a vendetta to wipe out all the males of the other town until there was just one boy left. But then he was shot at a bus stop on his way to school. The only uplifting part of it was the women were safe in the notion that some of them were pregnant and the village would not disappear. But it was a shocking, strange incident and inspired the lyrics.'
'About someone who’s possessed on the obsession for the possession of someone else.'
'Sometimes you can’t believe how bad things can get, how cruel people can be. You’ve had enough of all this. Who can forgive? All you can do is have pity.'
'Expresses the emotion that for what you really want, you have all the time in the world. For what you really need and want, you’ll wait forever if you have to.'
'This is about discovering a part of your past you thought had gone but now remember. You want to go back to it but you know you can’t. But it’s not a futile thought, it’s strengthening. Because now you understand what happened in the past and can go forward.'
'On a flippant level, it’s a Budgie nonsense lyric. But it also says that the way things are going here, we might as well be on Pluto. We have to face up to what’s happening to the earth. It’s not that bleak – yet.'
'There’s still a thrill in being the governor of your own destiny. It’s a feeling that’s the opposite of complacency. It’s about that step out your front door and the uncertainty about which way you’ll turn. A sense of freedom, like when you’re speeding in a car.' (On CD/cassette only)
'I had just read a novel called ‘In The Eyes Of Mr. Fury’ by Philip Ridley. It’s about unrequited love and how in a small village there’s an all-knowing aspect to the eyes of everyone, how every emotion you think is private soon becomes public.'
'Jose, the gardener at the ranch, was about 60 but had such a weather-beaten face, he seemed older than Time. He’d sit up in an apricot tree and throw fruit down to us. And it was Jose who would ring the bell to call the community to church on Sunday. He gave me a new perspective on what religion means – a community so closely-knit you can’t see the join, a love of the land, the unity of the people, an analogy for absolute harmony. When we left, he ran across the courtyard and threw his arms around me and cried. It really pulled us to pieces.'
'In-between having finished the tracks and approaching the mixing, there’s a great uncertainty about what will happen next and how to achieve it – until you realize that you just need to follow your nose.'
'An Arabic word meaning a dry wind, a scirocco. Siouxsie wrote it about the atmosphere surrounding the Salman Rushdie affair. There’s this drying relentless wind of the almost corrupt power of some religions with an unbending control over individuals. It’s completely unforgiving and victimizing, a very dangerous thing, a wind of danger.'
'We took to Spain cassettes of Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, old bluesmen. We felt a certain empathy with them. Then one day we slowed down the end of Simoom to half-speed, Siouxsie we near a mic and started wailing like a demented wolf. We just went with it, absorbed by our wild surroundings.'
'About having to confront the inevitable cruelty of nature.'Morinna:
'The Spanish word for ‘the blues.’ About longing for something that’s gone and will never come back. I pieced together phrases I’ve written over the last few years that encapsulated little moments for me. It has a sorrowful note to it but it’s optimistic too. Because it’s about feeling stronger when you bring these moments together and then moving on again.'
|BOOMERANG - ADVERTS/REVIEWS|
More of a movie than a
piece of music, this album takes you on a journey. The Creatures are
not afraid to pull right back to the bones on songs such as Pity,
Willow and Morrina, exposing themselves to closer inspection. Siouxsie
voice is at it's most sumptuous, helped greatly by near perfect
production, giving the songs room to breathe. Standing There is a
stampede of rolling drums and spurting brass and leaves you in no
doubt about Siouxsie's feelings concerning a certain breed of men.
Then abruptly it's gone and makes way for the awakening pitter patter
This album is diverse, there certainly is a feel of a dusty, barren Spain especially lyrically, but there is so much more. There is an intense heat to some of these songs. The scorching Strolling Wolf & Venus Sands to name but two. I would find it impossible to date this album; Siouxsie & Budgie deliver something unique with their unusual choice of instrumentation and song structure. The naivety of some of these songs is a pleasure, no over-dramatisation, no really big bold statements, but a delicacy and purity that is refreshing after some of the Banshees dark posturings. A lightness of mood prevails on Fruitman, Untiedundone & Fury Eyes (based loosely on the book In The Eyes Of Mr. Fury, a MUST read).
The b sides during this period fit perfectly with the mood of the album and would not be out of place amongst the track listing.
The artwork is beautiful, the cover of Boomerang in particular, perfectly complimenting the mood of the album, Siouxsie & Budgie laying themselves bare to the elements, the scorched, dying sunflowers a testament to the heat and the dust. The Creatures first and so far only masterpiece.
|Unknown source 1989|
The Creatures, Siouxsie
Sioux and Budgie of Banshees fame have been in hibernation since their
'83 hit "Right Now", though they began life as a spin off
project two years earlier. The lack of activity, however,
shouldn't hide the seriousness of their highly original musical
intentions. Inspired by holidays in Hawaii, the duo's debut album was
laced with impressionistic dream-pop, and their second gently proffers
a similarly intoxicating wash of shimmering, heady sound, built on the
subtle interplay of native steel drums, tinkling xylophones and bells,
Siouxsie's spooky voice, and sleazy honking horns. Most of the songs
conjure up images of sun, surf, and stars, and the ebb and flow of
tides. Yet, as is usual with Siouxsie, there's also a darker side: her
vampish vocals lend tracks like "Untiedundone" and "Pluto
Drive" a distinctly pervy air.
Siouxsie has spoken
of her and drummer Budgie's extra-curricular activities as a means
of side-stepping the restrictive expectations placed on The Banshees
- a way out of all that fevered hacking and slitting voodoo drama.
Strange then, that on their second "solo" album, six years
on from the debut "Feast", they should still be deeply
immersed in perfumed psychosis. This isn't so much an escape from
The Banshees as a re-framing of the delirium. And actually it's
Beyond The Banshees themselves there is no real reference point for the blend of fevered poetry, cabaret drama and primitive percussion that The Creatures concoct. You can imagine Liza Minelli doing this sort of thing if she crashed into the jungle and went native. Or if Shirley Bassey was ever to do a version of "Hey Big Spender" backed by Burundi drummers you might be getting there. But mostly it's a less violent version of The Banshees' disturbed dreamworld, with the flailing guitars substituted by a minimal cradling of blood and bones, drumming, and eerie horns and xylophones.
Boomerang was recorded this summer in rural Spain, and just as the first LP drew on elements of its Hawaiian recording location, so this one taps into the local vibrations. There is, then, the flamenco rhythmic inflexion and savannah sunset trumpets in "Manchilds" tale of family feuding. There are drowsy funeral procession horns in "Killing Time", and the spaghetti western church bell chimes ringing out amidst Sioux's witchy vocals on "You!".
The sun appears to have got to Siouxsie in places. The Ice-queen's customary internalised misanthropy comes out a little warped on "Boomerang". The single "Standing There" (minus mutant house mix) vents plenty of spleen against male dumbness, but elsewhere there's an abundance of entranced natural imagery. So alongside the nausea and rabid kisses we get conger eels, apricot trees, blinding sunlight, baby turtles and olive groves woven into a mescaline daze of over-ripe emotions. Strange fruit indeed and by no means all bitter. The loose-limbed trombone swing of "Strolling Wolf" is, for instance, a kind of over-exposed snapshot of Andalucian scenery (Man Ray's holiday pics?). And "Venus Sands" is a crooned depiction of nature, red in tooth and claw, complete with wave sounds and seabird calls.
But "Boomerang" is not restricted to impressionistic evocations of odd corners of the world and the associated far-flung states of mind. The whispered horrors of "Pity" for example, are a recognisable off-shoot of Banshee-poisoned lullaby songs.
A rich and unsettling landscape of exotica, despite its spartan building blocks, and probably the best album the Banshees haven't made since "Kaleidoscope". Plus, the pre-eminence of Budgie's Spanish-tribal-jazz drumming means you could dance to most of this... if you can find a club where they'll let you in wearing moon-boots, a sombrero and a bone through your nose, that is." 8 Out Of 10 Roger Morton
|Melody Maker 11/11/89|
an established group takes time off for extra-curricular activity, it's
usually an attempt to flee the creative inertia that sets in
mid-career. So when Siouxsie and Budgie chose to revive an earlier
alter ego/escape route, The Creatures, you could be forgiven for taking it
as a sign that the Banshees had succumbed to an irreversible
enervation. But listening to 'Boomerang', my yawn turned quickly to
a jaw dropping in astonishment. This is Siouxsie's most inventive
and invigorated music since 'A Kiss In The Dreamhouse'. What's
interesting about 'Boomerang' is how Siouxsie has incorporated her new
holistic, health-conscious, "gyn-ecological" concerns within her
established, predatory persona. 'Standing There' is a feminist
tirade against the ghoulish males who voyeuristically revel in the carnage
of the bullfight; Budgie's stampeding rhythms gloss over some rather
ungainly phrased polemic ("How funny to see/How path-et-ic/Some
grown men/Can be"). 'Fruitman' tries to imagine a
nurturing, kindly, Green-fingered masculinity that's in touch with "the
rhythms of nature's ticking". Even 'Pluto Drive' conceals,
within its asteroid-funk swirl and images of "oceans of methane
and petrified grass", a distinctly Green sentiment (Pluto is "an
Musically, Budgie is the star. 'Manchild' has Siouxsie's voice swooping through canopies of chimes and seethes like the low-riding funk undercarriage of 'Pull Up To The Bumper', and 'Pity' even sees Budgie reinventing the Jamaican steel drums.
But sometimes the duo veer dangerously close to camp. I can do without the Porgy And Bess pastiche of 'Killing Time' and 'Willow'. But happily, 'Boomerang' ends with two songs as lulling and lovely as 'Pity'. 'Venus Sands' describes itself perfectly. Siouxsie's voice abandoned and unhinged in vast empty space. And 'Morrina' is a shimmering carpet of dew, a Milky Way awning for Sioux's reveries. It's the most serene she's ever sounded.
'Boomerang' abounds with scarcely anticipated brilliance.