Missing: distressed guitars, the stomping march of drums and the crack of a mirror. Are you the owner? Janet Susan Ballion had been out of the limelight for a while. Since her musical menagerie of “Dreamshows” in 2004, all went quiet on the recording front, bar a few back catalogue releases. Of course she was still seen hanging out with the cream of London’s alternative music fraternity, but release wise there was not a squeak or a sparkle of news. Then tracks from her solo album creeped out, starting with opener and latest single ‘Into A Swan’. This produced speculation from fan forums discussing the meaning behind her latest lyrics - that she had split from Budgie, her now ex-husband/ex-Banshees drummer/ex-Creatures drummer. Then she gave the official word and the world saw it was all in fact true.
But what did the world hear? 10 new tracks and 41 minutes of Siouxsie’s outpourings. Don’t know who Siouxsie is? This femme fatale of popular music needs no introduction, you’ll just have to fill in the missing links for yourself. All that needs to be mentioned is that her reign as queen of ’78 punk has infiltrated many lives, including a range of iconic acts, such as U2, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Garbage and Morrissey. And even more recently with bands like the Basement Jaxx , Scissor Sisters, The Violets and Love of Diagrams.
Presented here are tales of the last few years and there are definitely hints of what might have gone on between her and Budgie. But the songs contained here are mostly of a mini renaissance in Siouxsie’s universe: I feel a force I’ve never felt before, Feeling so strong can’t be ignored, I burst out, I’m transformed, I burst right out into a swan. And the bursting and electronic tinged production doesn’t stop at ‘Into A Swan’, next song ‘About To Happen’ follows along in single file, with a similar feel to Creatures pop song ‘2nd Floor’. From here on in the album goes down beat and begins to take mysterious burlesque-like twists and turns like on ‘Here Comes That Day’ with bass sax, swinging but downbeat ‘Drone Zone’ with mutant trumpet and shuffling ‘Loveless’ with strings in the background with the occasional glockenspiel type sounds. Then there are the lush filmic sounds of ‘If It Doesn’t Kill You’ and ‘Heaven & Alchemy’. And of course all of this is neatly threaded together by Siouxsie’s starkly original English vocals and creative lyrics. ‘Mantaray’ is sure to entice you into the Siouxsie zone, offering you something to marvel at and moon over.