Siouxsie- Mantaray (Album Review)
“I burst out/I’m transformed,” yowls Siouxsie Sioux on “Into a Swan,” the first track from the first solo album of her 30-year career. And transformation is what you’d expect from the British punk goddess, who’s left behind her band and her husband (Banshees/Creatures drummer Budgie), returning to a music world where everyone from P.J. Harvey to Goldfrapp owes their careers to her illustrious past.
On “Mantaray,” Siouxsie does some of the expected debt collecting, sounding like the latter act on the glammed-up dance tracks “Swan” and “About To Happen.” Yet with the help of producer Steve Evans (Robert Plant), she ends up reminding you of no one so much as herself, charting a path back to the eerie basements and dark corners of her own catalog. “Here Comes That Day” and “If It Doesn’t Kill You” explore the jazzy bent of 1991’s “Peek-a-Boo,” while the wailing “One Mile Below” travels even further, to the Banshees’ pounding tribal punk.
Throughout, Siousxie’s voice is as icily commanding as ever; she remains the latter-day Lotte Lenya worshipped by her young disciples. You could say the closing, piano-and-strings showcase “Heaven and Alchemy” borrows from some of them. But as a whole. “Mantaray” proves it’s much more the other way ’round.