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Mantaray

Siouxsie

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Album Review

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.

Mantaray, Siouxsie
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