The opening song “Peek-a-Boo” really threw me for a lip – those samples are a massive departure from what I’m familiar with from this band. My initial impression of it was that they were trying to piggyback on the emerging sound of hip hop and electro which they didn’t understand and were failing terribly. That was my initial impression.
But the song actually works, once you get over the initial shock of the production. And the good news, for people like me who are shocked by the production of “Peek-a-Boo,” is that the rest of the record sounds like Siouxsie and the Banshees.
But, upon more reflection, the rest of the record’s relative familiarity is both a good thing and a bad thing. “Peek-a-Boo” is a pretty radical departure for them, and the rest of the record is not a departure at all. That’s more pleasing to a fan like me, but it’s also less daring.
This is a good set of songs, as far as I’m concerned. It’s such a good set of songs that I have toyed with upping my rating, thinking I might like this as much as any record of theirs, despite the fact that this is not my favourite lineup. (I prefer McGeoch to Klein not because Klein is a bad guitarist – he’s quite good – but because McGeoch is amazing.) With the exception of the lead-off track, they appear to have a found a pretty comfortable space, combining what makes them unique with a greater songwriting ability, and the willingness to take the occasional risk.
I do quite like this a lot. But I think, intellectually, I would have been more wowed by a record that lived up to the shock of the lead-off track, rather than one that reassures me that this band is still the same great band.