This is my first ’90s Banshees album and I must say I was a little reticent to give it a listen, for two reasons. For one thing, though I feel like their ’80s records have dated rather well for ’80s music, I must say I was worried that this record would sound pretty damn ’80s. Then there was a lesser concern that maybe I was wasting my time. Though I am a fan of the band I kind of figured this record would be a little too inconsequential for my podcast, and I was slightly worried that I should be listening to something “more important”. My real concern in appraising the record is that I might dismiss it for not being important enough. (I mean, it was 1995…)
I’m happy to report that the Banshees’ sound is distinct enough that they manage to sound like a ’90s version of the Banshees, rather than an ’80s band accidentally alive in the ’90s. Some of this has to do with their judicious use of keyboards, most of which manage to sound more ’90s than ’80s to my ears. And they have adapted their sound for the ’90 a little bit, as some of the guitar parts, for example, sound much more ’90s than ’80s. (More distortion than they used to employ, for example.)
But what really sells it is Siouxsie, as usual. She is in as fine form as ever. The more I listen to her the more I feel like it’s basically between her and Kate Bush as to who was the more iconic and influential female vocalists of their age.
This isn’t their strongest set of songs but it’s still pretty good, especially for a final album. I don’t know how conscious the end was for them but it sure feels like there was a concentrated effort to do a good job on this record, which isn’t always the case when a band is falling apart. (I don’t know whether or not they were falling apart.)
Anyway, I quite like this. I’m not sure it matters for anyone who isn’t already a Banshees fan – I can’t imagine it would convert too many people – but it’s a good set of songs played in a way that manages both to sound like the band I know and sound different enough that it at least feels like it belongs to the decade it was released in. Phew.