Worcester Telegram & Gazette 21/10/07  
  In what has all the makings of comeback of the year, Siouxsie Sioux has come out of self-imposed exile and emerged as an artist reborn on her first solo disc, “Mantaray.”

Born Susan Janet Ballion 50 years ago, Siouxsie (who has dropped the “Sioux” and is now a member of the elitist one-name celebrity club) was the enigmatic singer of Siouxsie & the Banshees and its offshoot, the Creatures.

Siouxsie burst on the music scene in unorthodox fashion in 1976 at the 100 Club in London. Performing with future Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious on drums, Siouxsie’s first gig boasted a scandalous and lengthy performance of “The Lord’s Prayer.” Who would have ever imagined that this leading force in the Goth movement and champion Bohemian pinup girl would sound like a godsend more than 30 years later?

Siouxsie is no longer fronting the Banshees (whose last studio disc was 1995’s ill-received “The Rapture”) nor is she likely to commit to a Creatures collaboration anytime soon. Not only are those two projects history, so is her creative partnership and marriage with Budgie, the drummer, percussionist and keyboardist of both outfits. This breakup (apparently bitter and unexpected, according to her latest batch of lyrics) fuels the fire on “Mantaray,” a stellar album focusing on abrupt endings, romantic betrayals, new beginnings and endless possibilities in the future.

The murky, nightmarish, magnificent “Into a Swan” is an emotional grabber and spine-tingler in which Siouxsie experiences a cathartic soul-cleansing and creative rebirth. A shrieking moan segues into Siouxsie’s beautiful, beguiling voice as she wrestles and eventually gives in to a dramatic transformation. Initially spooked but somewhat delighted by her inner strength, Siouxsie cries out, “What in the world’s happening?/What in the world could this be?/I’m on the verge of an awakening/A new kind of strength for me.” Dissonant guitar riffs, industrial-strength synths and booming, bone-crushing percussion give a sense that Siouxsie’s body is being reshaped into some new being. When the metamorphosis is complete, listeners can’t wait for the sonic adventures that lie ahead. They won’t be disappointed.

Siouxsie braces herself for “the calm before the hunter kill” on the deliciously depraved “About to Happen.” But instead of a fire and brimstone assault on the senses of “City of Dust,” it’s all shake and shimmy with Siouxsie strutting her stuff. On this souped-up, glam rock opus, Siouxsie delivers her doomsayer predictions alongside a stomping mix of jangly guitars riffs, springy synth chords and snappy percussion. Siouxsie tantalizingly advises, “Get up. Get out/Don’t hang about/Get up. Get out.” With Armageddon just around the corner, what better way to celebrate than on the dance floor?

On “Here Comes That Day,” Siouxsie hits pay dirt. Accompanied by a bombastic mix of booming brass and percussion, Siouxsie warns, “There’s a price to pay/For a life of insincerity” and makes good on her promise. With a cool, confident strength and swagger, Siouxsie seduces us and threatens us; we are, whether innocent or guilty, utterly helpless.

“Loveless” opens with the enticing image of Siouxsie as a panther on the prowl (“Hear me purr. Hear me growl”). But this daring sex kitten soon confesses that despite wearing her “slinky boots” and “kooky mood,” she has been declawed by her lover’s deceit. Sweeping, dreamy orchestration is obliterated by a moody, murky mix of jarring guitar licks, rumbling percussion and snarly upright bass. While this is a voice of a woman devastated by “all that sweetness covered falseness,” Siouxsie sounds as if she is about to strike at any second.

Siouxsie is at her tantalizing best on sweeping torch song and showstopper “If It Doesn’t Kill You.” With the forbidden mystery and allure of a Brechtian heroine, Siouxsie gushes, “If it doesn’t kill you/It will shape you/If it doesn’t break you/It will make you.” With a dark undercurrent, the charismatic singer gives the impression that she knows the truth of her words all too well.

On the ethereal mood piece “Sea of Tranquility,” Siouxsie is under the spell of cool water cleansing her soul. A fluid arrangement of beautiful strings and sparkling piano accents the singer’s sensual, seductive voice. As she ventures forth onto Bjork territory, Siouxsie tempestuously belts out, “There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand,” as if the words contain some deep dark secret.

While she’s in love with the idea of falling in love, Siouxsie doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to face the deception that comes with it on the sparse piano confessional “Heaven and Alchemy.” Momentarily dropping her defenses, Siouxsie declares, “I would catch a falling star/If you asked me to/But I can’t seem to find one/To hold on to.” With romantic longing and deep resentment in her voice, Siouxsie’s cries are both passionate and powerless while “Mantaray” proves the singer is still a provocative powerhouse.

Craig Semon



  La Voz Online 15/10/07  
  Punk Rock 101: In 1976, Susan Ballion of Bromley, England (whom you know as Siouxsie Sioux - formerly of Siouxsie and the Banshees and later The Creatures) launched a career spanning four decades, blazing the way for the likes of PJ Harvey, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Shirley Manson of Garbage.

So when you delve into the enchanted world of Siouxsie's psyche via this remarkable album, "Mantaray" - and you definitely must - don't think to yourself that she's mimicking any modern style of music. Make no mistake about it; the artists you hear in her songs have adopted the signature style of the Ice Queen of Punk, not the other way around.

Sinister, sexy and flirtatious on the surface, this album seethes with raw, unadulterated honesty and bare-naked emotion.

Working outside the structure of a band for the first time, Siouxsie got busy with producers Charlie Jones (Goldfrapp) and Steve Evans (Robert Plant), and together they wove a tapestry of music that is pure magic.

Rising from the aftermath of her divorce from Banshees drummer and Creatures collaborator Budgie, and boasting ancient scars earned from 50 years of hardcore living, Siouxsie bursts into her solo debut with a proclamation of rebirth in the hot track "Into a Swan." Channeling Marlene Dietrich and Madonna, Siouxsie slips effortlessly into enchantress-mode in the sinfully vengeful romp "Here Comes That Day," and struts unabashedly into "Loveless," a wicked torch song that lingers and haunts.

In a stunner of a climax, Siouxsie absolutely bludgeons with the soul-wrenching ballad "If It Doesn't Kill You," a masterpiece that will leave you obliterated. Another standout is the gothic-pop ditty "About to Happen," reminiscent of early Devo.

"Drone Zone," chimes in as an avant-garde, poetic commentary on the mindless droning of daily life in modern consumerist society, while "Sea of Tranquility" provides a lush gothic landscape to dream upon and get lost in. In a final exacting blow, brutally truthful lyrics stating "you're in love with the idea of me," in the ballad "Heaven and Alchemy" bring down a killer finale.

Her defiant freedom of style, newly reinvented and entirely unhampered by the dictates of the status quo, mingles jazz (a la Shirley Bassey) and classic cabaret with industrial glam punk and a steady dose of the relentless, grinding feedback, percussive mayhem and slash and burn guitars that Siouxsie is famous for.

With the albatross of expectations hovering over the infamously coiffed head of this veteran glam- punk icon, releasing a solo album was a monster feat. Yet, Madame Sioux enters the arena armed and ready. Long live the Queen!

Paula Warner



  The Recorder 10/10/07  
  One of the original females of punk rock and an icon for Goth fashion, it’s amazing to me that MantaRay marks Siouxsie’s first solo album.

At 50 years young, the enchantress of punk has expanded her horizon far from the sound that originally made her popular. MantaRay is an album that combines elements of rock, pop and electronica. I guess that’s expected when you work with Goldfrapp contributor Charlie Jones.

I must admit that any Siouxsie and the Banshee fans had to have been apprehensive upon hearing the fi rst single from MantaRay “Into a Swan.” The song is so perfect though for the fi rst single and the opening track. Maybe a late bloomer, but Siouxsie’s once jarring style is now a little softer and a lot poppier.

But if you thought that was poppy, you haven’t heard anything until you’ve heard “Here Comes That Day.” The song combines a symphonic sound with an industrial beat and an unmistakably catchy chorus.

Perhaps the album doesn’t really come together until the slow developing ballad “If It Doesn’t Kill You.” If there was ever any doubt if Siouxsie infl uenced artists like Garbage or Poe, this track solidifi es it.

Overall, the album is much more successful than one would think out of an aging punk icon. It’s nice to see her expand on her sound with out losing her trademarks or compromising herself.

Andrew Morgan



  Stuff 10/10/07  
  In the movie Notes on a Scandal, a pupil having an affair with his teacher, played by Cate Blanchett, can't believe the sound coming from an old album she puts on the stereo.

It's the first time he's heard Siouxsie and the Banshees' Kaleidoscope from 1980. Blanchett's character then looks nostalgically at an old photograph of her younger self, dressed in Siouxsie Sioux's punk proto-Goth style.

So it's a relief as well as a surprise that Sioux's first solo album – after years of Banshees albums and side projects – sounds fresh and strangely youthful.

Sioux's voice was always limited, but like some of rock'n'roll's best singers, she makes her limitations an asset.

Combined with raw and unpredictable instrumentation and great hooks it's hard to fault anything here.

Into the Swan pushes power chords a la Garbage, About to Happen mixes glam with grunty Stranglers-style organ, while Here Comes the Day grows into a big swaggering hyper-ballad and Loveless is a strong torch song, good enough to give the likes of Goldfrapp a run for their money.

Tom Cardy




  Slant 04/10/07  
  Into a Swan," the first single off Mantaray, is to Siouxsie Sioux what "Stronger" is to Kanye West. Both are testaments of an artist's nerve: Daft Punk's sample makes Kanye's beats "harder, better, faster," while Siouxsie sings over a siren, "I burst out/I'm transformed." Like Kanye, Siouxsie shows that she has something to prove; as the former lead singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees, she may look lees than swan-like in all that make-up, but she still carries the best of the Six Pistols era's grimy authenticity. In most obvious ways, Siouxsie has moved from the dissonant sounds of her band's debut, The Scream, and into pure, intoxicating pop on her solo debut. Now more than ever, it's nearly impossible to distinguish between Siouxsie and Shirley Manson: Mantaray's sound is distinctly modern, filtered through the lush electronic textures of Garbage, Portishead, even Björk, but it's Siouxsie voice - trembling and echoing all at once - that reaffirms the album's urgency. Her attitude is genuinely punk, but notice that Mantaray ends on, of all things, a song about heartache. On "Heaven and Alchemy," Siouxsie sings between ethereal warbles, "I'm in love with the idea of you/Run, rush, reality/Hard to face this deception/This human frailty," and it's every bit as breathless and bone-chilling as the first chord of The Scream.

Paul Schrodt




  Rolling Stone 18/10/07  
  Dear fierceness - can you come out to play? Goth-punk goddess Siouxsie Sioux hasn’t sounded this tough since the Banshees fell apart more than a decade ago. She recently split with husband and musical partner Budgie, who drummed for the Banshees and joined her in the globe-trotting adventures of the Creatures; it’s the goth equivalent of a royal divorce. But with all her cities in dust, Siouxsie concentrates all her eccentric music powers on her first solo album ever, one where you don’t have to keep telling yourself “but it’s Siouxsie” to pay attention. Great hooks like “Loveless” and “About to Happen” twist the tricks she’s re-learned from young disciples such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars and Arcade Fire. She busts out her Frau Blucher voice for crypt-cabaret ballads like “Sea of Tranquility” and “Heaven and Alchemy,” switching into latex-dominatrix mode for the brassy ersatz Bond theme “Here Comes That Day.” After thirty years in the game, Siouxsie still can’t be stopped.

3½ out of /5

Rob Sheffield



  All Music 09/07  
  Siouxsie Sioux's extensive musical career is something that most singers would envy having; whether leading the Banshees or fronting the Creatures, her strong voice, sharp eye for detail, and embrace of any number of styles have remained touchstones for numerous performers since. Following on a couple of years from both a celebratory tour and her fine turn on Basement Jaxx's Kish Kash, her full solo debut, Mantaray, is a bit of a different effort for her, though with a couple of drawbacks. Working with producers Steve Evans and Charlie Jones (the latter having notably collaborated with one of Siouxsie's many descendants, Goldfrapp; there's definitely more than a slight hint of her compressed glam kick throughout), Siouxsie on Mantaray resembles nothing in her past so much as the 1991 Banshees album Superstition, a sometimes thrilling but at points compromised experimentation with already well-worn dance styles. Thankfully, the atmosphere of 2007 is far more chaotically all-embracing for a magpie-like approach, and at its best Mantaray embraces this — lead single "Into a Swan" is a fierce bit of industrial glam-punk with more feedback than most bands could provide, its closest cousin perhaps being Depeche Mode's snarling "A Pain That I'm Used To." Other highlights include "Loveless" — nothing to do with My Bloody Valentine, but with a strutting kick all its own — and the concluding "Heaven and Alchemy," a fine piano-led comedown. After a strong start, though, the album gets a bit flat, with some songs like "One Mile Below" sounding dramatic enough but also too reminiscent of past Banshees/Creatures highlights to truly stand out. This said, Siouxsie's voice remains as strong as ever before, and she enters her fourth decade of performing with style and grace perfectly intact.

Ned Raggett


  Metro 15/09/07  
  There's something bizarre and disarming about this being Siouxsie Sioux's debut album. After all, this is an artist who has insouciantly seized the limelight over generations, blossoming from teenage punk to the commanding centre of the The Banshees and The Creatures.
She's already toured solo, and this record isn't a reinvention as such, but its headily produced ten tracks do add further depth to her repertoire, including the opening statement Into a Swan ("I'm on the verge of an awakening") and the menacing showstopper, Here Comes That Day .  A tenderness also pulses through this talented singer's ice-maiden veneer on Loveless and the ambient chill of Sea of Tranquility . On record just as onstage, she remains a fabulously formidable performer -- fierce enough to reduce indie pretenders to tears.



  Uncut 10/07  
  Mantaray Advert - Click Here For Full ScanBanshees-free and Creatures-free, but still the outsider...

Given she now lives in a French farmhouse tending her roses and surrounded by cats, the arrival of Siouxsie's first solo album after 30 years might have suggested she was going all Carole King on us.  On the surface, strings and a piano ballad "Heaven And Alchemy" where she croons "I will catch a falling star if you want me to" appear to confirm those fears.  Fortunately, Mantaray is considerably more complicated than that.  The industrial grind of single "Into A Swan", the glammed-up trashiness of "About To Happen" and the sinister alienation of "Loveless" prove that she's still the uncompromising outsider at heart.


Nigel Willianson



  Q 10/07  
  First solo album from punk's eternal ice queen.  It's taken 31 years for Bromley's former Susan Ballion to strike out alone.  And this collaboration with Steve Evans and Goldfrapp producer Charlie Jones makes you wonder why she's waited so long.  Closer in musical spirit to her multi-textured art-pop with Creatures partner Budgie than the Banshees' darker guitar rock, Mantaray hits hardest on the post-Shirley Bassey torch song of If It Doesn't Kill You and the mutant jazz of Drone Zone and Sea Of Tranquility.  The 50-year-old Siouxsie voice is as rich and sensual as ever, and lyrical references to rebirth abound.  No wonder; this is easily her best album in 20 years.


Gary Mulholland



  Sunday Express 09/09/07  
  Just like the iconic star herself, Siouxsie Sioux's debut album resists categorisation.  Mantaray melds influences as disparate as rock and jazz but the dominant theme is discordant, gothic pop.  Impressively, there's not a let-down track on the album and a perfectionist attention to detail sees synths, strings, wind and percussion used to creative, compelling effect.


Charlotte Heathcote



  The Daily Mail 07/09/07  
  Thirty years after her punk heyday, Siouxsie Sioux finally releases her first solo album.  Low on pop hooks, but high on atmospherics, it mixes heavy, clattering beats with orchestral numbers and John Barry pastiches that find the singer in full Shirley Bassey mode.  Her voice, once an icy wail, has mellowed into a warming purr.  And if she occasionally sounds a little like Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Shirley Manson (Garbage), that is understandable: the younger girls were themselves heavily influenced by the former Banshee.




  The Independent 07/09/07  
  For the first solo outing of her 30-year career, Siouxsie has hooked up with co-producers Steve Evans and Charlie Jones, best known for their work with Robert Plant and Goldfrapp respectfully.  They're a good match for her own musical instincts, equally adept at the strident glam-punk riffing of "About To Happen" and the loping world groove of "They Follow You", and most points in-between.  Perhaps mindful of her core constituency, the single "Into A Swan" opens the album with a churning goth-rock stomp that's not too dissimilar from the heavier end of the Banshees' oeuvre.  It's effectively Siouxsie's own take on the Ugly Duckling fable, the first of a series of songs about transformation and endurance that reaches it's apogee on "If It Doesn't Kill You", where the Nietzschean aphorism is bent to her own needs:  "If it doesn't kill you, it will shape you/If it doesn't break you, it will make you".  Elsewhere, stalking strings and brass accompany her anticipation of a hypocrite's comeuppance in "Here Comes That Day", and bulbous marimba strolls through the doomy strings of "Loveless".  All quite different, and all quite good.




  Stylus Magazine 09/07  
  Siouxsie Sioux continues to defy expectations. From a woman whose career has already been full of twists, this should come as no surprise—but therein lies a true talent, pulling the wool over already expectant eyes. A return to the drum-laden excursions of 2003's Hai was always unlikely; direct retreads are not on Sioux's agenda, especially with the Banshees now banished and Creatures unleashed back into the wild. Clues, though, seemed to be forthcoming from the lavish Dreamshow tour, which married a live orchestra and grand surrounds to the Siouxsie experience. Perhaps her long-rumoured solo album would mine this seam to completion?

Not a chance. Famously keen to incorporate guitars which can mimic "a horse falling off a cliff," the discordant growl and squeal which introduce solo Sioux are more like Mincing A Swan than "Into a Swan." It's a heck of an attention grabber—and though the grungy churn of this opening single can hardly be hailed as original, when matched with that unmistakable voice it does, indeed, unfurl into a bit of a winged beauty. Industrial-esque grind wasn't on anyone's prediction coupon, and it works all the better for having the element of surprise.

However, the domineering diva within has proved impossible to suppress, and it's the cuts of cabaret swagger that really clutch the imagination with an elbow-length glove. "If It Doesn't Kill You" smolders with sorrow and future strength, building to a hopeful crescendo amidst the smoke and sway; a motion picture soundtrack viewed through the looking glass. No such words of encouragement to be found on "Here Comes That Day," a brassy, withering put-down of some unfortunate, sniveling weasel, whose duplicity is exposed in no short order. Siouxsie bestrides the track like a meteorological colossus, taking great delight in bringing the stinging rains of retribution down on our parades. In keeping with this deluge, the long-awaited "Sea of Tranquility" (its lyrics first appeared in the Gifthorse fanzine a number of years ago) emerges as a fantastical oceanic trip, wrapped in engulfing waters and reaching for impossible, far away stars.

Though Ms. Sioux tends to disassociate herself from any imposition of a "legacy," comparisons with previous projects are inevitable. Whilst, as might be expected, clear attempts to place some distance have been made (who'd have thought distorted solos and jazz-tinged arrangements would ever appear on a Siouxsie album?), faint voices from history still make it through the void. Specifically, "One Mile Below" appears to be a radical reworking of the Boomerang beats-n-harmonies number, "Solar Choir"—the familiar melody flowing underneath an increased tempo and overdriven guitars. The moments of "hey, that sounds a bit like ..." are few, but notable; and perhaps unavoidable with such a distinctive vocal presence.

In any case, these are welcome echoes from the past, not a weary retracing of footsteps. Part of this disconnect stems from the first-time use of hired guns, in place of a familiar, unified band; although what this saps in cohesion, it makes up in relaxed, almost playful freedom. This sense of openness extends to the lyrical offerings, which have (sadly, one might conclude) dropped much of the oblique Banshee mysticism in favor of more straightforward phraseology. Whilst it seems unlikely that Sioux ever ducked away from any subject, she's certainly speaking plainly now. Throughout, Mantaray reveals aspects of punk's original "ice queen" that previous encounters have only hinted at. Though, like the best performers, she keeps just enough behind the curtain—out of the vulgar public gaze. It not only leaves us wanting more, but once again guessing fruitlessly at what the next step might be.

Peter Parrish



  The Times 08/09/07  
  Recently divorced from her husband and musical partner Budgie, Siouxsie returns to the music world as a solo artist in a defiant, strutting and red-blooded affair- everything you would expect from the woman who has inspired such rebellious talents as Bjork and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Witness the brass-festooned swagger of Here Comes That Day, which, recalls Nina Simone's Feelin' Good, or the drum-thwacking of One Mile Below. Nearly 30 years since her first hit, that steely-toned voice is as beguiling as ever- the album's only let down is its occasionally dated arrangements. Had Siouxsie enlisted the talents of say, Muse, to back her, the sputtering, volcanic energy on Mantaray could have exploded into something truly breathtaking.


Sophie Harris



  The Telegraph 08/09/07  

Since she split up her Banshees in the mid-1990s, Siouxsie Sioux has laid low, making just the odd Creatures album, and occasional stunning appearances at award ceremonies.

Still living in south-west France, but recently divorced from her husband/co-Creature, Budgie, she emerges finally - at 50 - as a solo artist. Into a Swan, the single, erupts with exotic images of self-transformation.

Mantaray trades less on Sioux's heritage as a punk icon, more on her influence on individualistic pop-ettes such as Björk and Bat For Lashes.

Though it's plainly stitched together in a modern-day ProTools sound-world, you're constantly reminded of a cobwebbed past - Shirley Bassey's brassy collaboration with the Propellerheads, or Marlene Dietrich's moodiest orchestral songs.

Within it all, Sioux sounds imperious, passionate, sometimes in vengeful mood - the "Ice Queen" out to reclaim her throne.

Andrew Perry



  The Guardian 31/08/07  
  The former Susan Ballion has had a lot to deal with lately: her 50th birthday, the collapse of her bands the Banshees and Creatures, and divorce from Budgie, drummer with both groups. However, her first solo album after 30 years in the business is a mostly uplifting affair summed up by Into a Swan's confident, stomping beats and lines such as: "I feel a force I've never felt before."

Indeed, Sioux has never sounded quite like this, a strutting cross between her old self, Shirley Bassey, Marlene Dietrich and Sioux fan PJ Harvey. There are jagged rock riffs, timps and dancefloor beats. Lyrically, Mantaray divides between anti-suburban rants about "manicured lawns" that echo her days in punk's Bromley contingent and more emotional outpourings. Something for everybody, then.


Dave Simpson



  Music Mart 09/07  
  Siouxsie has always fearlessly charted her own course, managing to combine commercial appeal and experimentation into ravishing experiences whose only allegiance to punk's original manifesto was to be yourself.  It's fitting that one of the most fascinating stars to emerge from 1976's hubbub is releasing her first ever solo album at the height of punk's pointless 'anniversary' celebrations and, rather than re-tread her illustrious past with the Banshees and even the Creatures, comes out with a bold declaration of intent.

Produced with Steve Evans (Robert Plant) and Charlie Jones (Goldfrapp), Siouxsie has eschewed further-out excursions in favour of ten accessible songs, heralded by rousing single 'Into A Swan'.  After the glam-tinged strut of 'About To Happen', the album could be targeting the mainstream rock market, before spine-tingling ballad 'If It Doesn't Kill You' ushers in a stunning last half, which is where the fireworks happen.  Voodoo grooves, psychedelic flights and bright, electronic pop jostle to provide a lush bed for Siouxsie's deeper, matured voice, which comes to the fore on the sinister, spacey jazz-scape of 'Drone Zone'.  'Sea Of Tranquility' is surreal and exotic, using marimbas, piano and cellos over bossa nova shuffle, while 'They Follow You' is intoxicatingly melodic and 'Heaven & Alchemy' a gorgeous piano ballad with highly personal lyrics ("You're in love with the idea of me").

It may be a surprise to some, but the emotional content of Siouxsie's songs was always criminally overlooked.  She had to come back, though, and as ever, the timing is perfect.


Kris Needs



  Classic Rock 09/07  
  Incredible return to form for punk rock queen.

There were few women involved in the punk era but one of its most uncompromising voices belonged to Siouxsie Sioux.  Her style defined gothic fashion for generations, and her music has inspired everyone from Garbage and Polly Harvey to Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Regina Spektor.

Incredibly, this is her first solo album.  Even more incredibly, it's more than worth the wait.  Soundwise it's closer to The Creatures' percussive flights of exotic fancy than the Banshees but it's more experimental, freewheeling and commercial than anyone could have imagined.  The bulk of the tracks here split into two camps - industrial glam metal (single Into A Swan features fearsome guitar squall) and huge gothic torch songs - the wonderful If It Doesn't Kill You strange chanting, horror soundtrack moments and lyrics of a kinky diva bent.  In short, it's spectacular.


Johnny Dee



  Observer 08/07  
  Like the big-haired ice queen never really went away.

It's been four long years since the Banshees' last live release.  But now we have a CD of brand new material from the high priestess of punk herself.  And she doesn't disappoint.  Your first thought is how much we've missed that voice.  The new single, 'Into A Swan', is a brilliant industrial cacophony; 'Here Comes That Day' recalls Shirley Bassey's 'Hey Big Spender'; while the Piaf-esque 'If It Doesn't Kill You' is a torch song for our times.  Producers Steve Evans and Charlie Jones (Goldfrapp) ensure the mix is absolutely contemporary.  But no one does sex and mayhem like Siouxsie.


Liz Hoggard



  The Word 09/07  
  Madam Banshee's scattergun solo debut

In 1988, Siouxsie appeared in a photo shoot done up as Bast, ancient Egyptian cat-goddess of fertility and fire-prevention.  Such style has been saluted by a varied cast, including Morrissey, Basement Jaxx, Jean Paul Gaultier and buttocks-fixated rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot - all of which helps furnish this first solo LP with real sense of anticipation.  However, this intermittently successful album is best when most unconcerned with the author's legacy.  They Follow You blithely rides fairground keyboards into seductive melody, like Joe Meek's Telstar tantalisingly reclad in Agent Provocateur underpants.  Less persuasive is the hauteur-laden robo-rock of Into A Swan and Loveless.  Like master echoing apprentice, they're more hygienic versions of Garbage and PJ Harvey.  As Siouxsie becomes first swan, then panther, such scenes of dramatic self-transformation also seem unnecessary.  The way Bromley's Susan Ballion made herself into Siouxsie's imperious ice-queen is already a clear component of her deserved eminence.

Roy Wilkinson