Monday, February 07, 2011

Music: But I wanna know for sure.

For Siouxsie and the Banshees, 1980's Kaleidoscope was a do-or-die release. Guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris, collectively half the band, had taken off. The remaining members, the eponymous Siouxsie and founding member Steve Severin, decided to quickly reform the band and, in less than a year, release a new LP. To refill the Banshees' depleted ranks, the duo tapped former Sex Pistol guitarist Steve Jones and former Magazine guitarist John McGeoch. For the engine room, the drafted ex-Slits drummer Budgie. The result was a an expansion of the S&B sound that wed their trademark bleak proto-gothic tones with hints of lush synth arrangements and psychedelic flourishes. It was a strong indication of Siouxsie and Co.'s move towards the more elaborate and dreamy instrumentation that they'd pursue for the next three decades.

But Siouxsie hadn't completely forgotten the angular, rhythmic post-punk sound of the early S&B work. She and Budgie, love interests and well as bandmates (they'd later marry), started a side project called The Creatures. Unlike S&B increasingly dense sound, The Creatures would feature a more minimal, but not necessarily spartan sound.

One of their early was a fantastically brutal cover of the Trogg's much abused "Wild Thing." The Creatures paired it down to a tribal beat, Siouxsie's voice, and little else. The result is something more haunted than celebratory, more haunted than horny.

The Banshees would remain the primary focus of Siouxsie and Budgie. The Creatures would appear only intermittently throughout the years until Sioux and Budgie divorced in the mid-00s, ending The Creatures' sporadic career.

You can hear The Creatures' "Wild Things" at The Devil's Music blog.

1 comment:

James Gracey said...

Great review! You've captured their essence succinctly.
I adore The Creatures; all those tribal rhythms and the innovative percussion. And as for those album covers...