People Weekly 1986  
  Tinderbox Poster Click Here For Bigger ScanWhen 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 soundtrack 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-yodelling 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.  

Michael Small



  Record Mirror 19/04/86  
  There's something a little sad about this.  Ten years of sailing the same doomed ship across the same writhing, poisonous sea.

Every now and then, they wreathe themselves in their cold obsessions, and step overboard to whip up a swirl of hissing, icy pop.  But is this band walking on water, or is it drowning in it's own whirlpool?  Neither... just treading water.

As a Banshees' album, this is actually quite good.  A shade lighter then 'Juju', less ragged than 'Hyaena', and far safer than 'Kaleidoscope'.  The Banshees principle is intact.  The ice-hag voice claws at our fears and insecurities, those hollow drums scatter nicely, and that top-heavy, spider bite guitar swoops and chills.

We already know the sickle-sharp pleasures of the obvious pop moments, 'Cities In Dust' and 'Candyman'.  As for the rest, 'Parties Fall' builds into a clever melodrama of morbid alienation and inverted harmonies, 'This Unrest' is a sleepless mood piece, for late night landscapes, and 'Lands End' is a tender, flickering Siouxsie rhyme.

But where does all that get us?  Still aboard the same ship, savouring the odd deathly thrill, but looking more and more like rock troopers.

The Banshees should be writing film scores for thriller movies.  In isolation, 'Tinderbox' is a gale, but in history, it's a dead sea.  


Roger Morton



  Unknown source 04/86  
  Hoorah! It's Siouxsie and the boys' lace anniversary (that means they've been together ten years, dullards).  And over those years they've been as reliable as the fact that the phone will ring the minute you step into the bath - the same wailing guitar and the same 'I'm-just-ever-so-slightly-off-key' kind of voice, intoning lines like 'the volcanic depths of Hades ocean bubble under these crazed eruptions'.  Good old Siouxsie!  




  Webmaster 26/10/01  
  Tinderbox Poster Click Here For Bigger ScanUmmm, so what do the Banshees do? They go back to basics once again. This worked well with Juju, after all McGeoch is an outstanding and inventive guitarist. Curruthers on the other hand is pedestrian, sounds like there isn't one guitar chord or riff on this album that hasn't been heard elsewhere before. Still, Candyman is a loud, impressive blast of sound and brings the subject of child abuse to the masses. Siouxsie's singing throughout this album is superb. The range is deeper and more resonant than before and even the operatics on Candyman don't feel forced, as they do later on Peepshow's Rhapsody, and the na na na's are just perfect for Candyman, giving the song that added edginess. 

Siouxsie simply coos her way through The Sweetest Chill and gives the song a feeling of unwanton lust. 

Too many failed producer attempts make this an uneven recording. The theme this time seems to be the elements, the natural forces of the weather are woven into most of the songs on display. In fact this album is so thematic, that the songs that don't centre around the pull of the weather sound oddly out of place. 

No doubt this album was geared more towards an American market it has a more homogenous mass appeal to it, nothing too uncomfortable. 

Cities In Dust has not aged well and sounds very dated, something the Banshees rarely sound. Siouxsie's yodel becoming an irritation rather than an endearment. 

Party's Fall, given a decent remix would have made a great single, sadly it never reaches it's full potential in this format. 

The art work at this time is a disappointment, the album cover looks rushed, the Cities In Dust sleeve is superb in it's posterbag sleeve incarnation, but sadly seems uninspired in it's ordinary jacket. Which brings me to the Candyman sleeve, a bit too obvious for my taste, not something I would normally associate with the Banshees.

And the b-sides? Lullaby is a gem, why was it hidden away? Too slight for the mass market? Shame.


  Unknown source 04/86  
  Tinderbox Poster Click Here For Bigger ScanThis album is not the listless debacle that was "Hyaena" a record that seemed to "drag by like a wounded animal".  There's an often desperate energy in evidence here., a strenuous effort to breathe fresh life into their worn routines.  "Tinderbox" is a consolidation of sorts, before they were sinking, now at least they're treading water.  Part of the reason "Tinderbox" doesn't ignite however is the dull production with a lack of depth in the sound, and too much treble.  Carruthers' is all wispy atmospherics and Severin's treated bass is a feeble drone, totally lacking in physical force.  The Banshees' sound is all texture and no dynamics, simultaneously opaque yet thin with only Budgie's feverish drumming to keep it all moving.  Worse than this, though, is underneath the treatment and the echo are strikingly ordinary riffs and changes.  The Banshees are playing a basically orthodox rock.  "Cities In Dust" is practically American.  Oh, it's all very pretty, this wallpaper angst, this evocative music that doesn't, actually, evoke anything much at all.  "The Sweetest Chill" through mental association with "The Sweetest Taboo", led me to a sudden understanding.  These days the  Banshees are a Sade for Goths, mood music, a soundtrack to a seduction and a long way from the terroristic seizure of attention that Siouxsie once exerted.  Like Sade she's an icon of glamour as glacial self-sufficiency, but strictly for "alternative" girls.  '92' opens with a snatch of movie dialogue: "More murders are committed at 92 Fahrenheit than any other temperature...lower temperatures people are easy going, over 92 it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable!".  The Banshees want to suck us into an equivalent hinterland of unease, but they just don't have those hooks and twists that used to knock the breath out of you the world from under you, and only the ripple of synth at the close of '92' comes close to prickling my flesh.  Really this accord is the sound of nothing going nowhere.  And the worse thing is I've ceased to care.  


  Smash Hits 1986  
  There are things in this world that aren't easily described or understood, and Lord knows the Banshees web is an intricate one indeed. Sometimes shimmery and hypnotic ("The Sweetest Chill"), then a swirling storm ("This Unrest"), the Banshees can get stubbornly introverted, making them sound like a cheerless Cocteau Twins. Aside from these difficult knots, nothing can equal the icy, tingling fingers of "Cities In Dust" or the furious whirlwind of "Candyman", which features brutal, timely lyrics that may leave you in quite a state.

Suzan Colon