Universal, 2007

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa


It’s been a while since we’ve heard new music from Siouxsie, much less The Banshees, and this risky debut turns out quite well.

Mantaray is a magical piece of work. It is very striking, from the first view of the album cover to the very last sounds of "Heaven" and "Alchemy." The album cover has probably the most amazing Siouxsie picture ever taken; what a great concept to cover oneself with butterflies and insects, yet still look away in the distance. That’s art.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Musically, the album is a combination of many different moods that make a whole record work. Mantaray is a very multidimensional record that has just about everything Siouxsie is known for but still takes many chances with how the songs are approached and delivered. For fans, this is a hidden pleasure. 

Lyrically, this album paints the whole story of lost love, betrayal, regeneration of the soul.  The album opens up with "Into A Swan," a track that signifies a big emotional wake-up call for its creator. It’s a song that acknowledges paradise lost. This veers into the angry "About To Happen" and then the “who’s laughing now” song of "Here Comes The Day," which is delivered in a burlesque lounge type of singing. It is haunting, but clearly presents its purpose with lyrics centering on the "say what you mean now, and mean what you say" school. It would be a great track for a Bond movie.

"If It Doesn’t Kill You" a song about letting go, no matter how bad things get, while "One Mile Below" is another song of hope after reaching the bottom. Siouxsie bares her soul here, with the beauty being that the lyrics can be interpreted in several different ways, depending on your mood. True art works on several levels, and on that note Siouxsie turns in one of the better albums of the year so far.

Other highlights include the experimental "Drone Zone," the self-reflective "Sea Of Tranquility," the personal hurt of "They Follow You" and "Heaven And Alchemy," which includes the line "I would catch a falling star if you asked me to, but I can’t seem to find one to hold on to."

Mantaray is a very personal album kindly crafted for a sensitive mind, and as I write this I keep getting more out of it with each listen. It's worth exploring, not only for what it accomplishes but for the fact it seems Siouxsie's best work is still ahead of her.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Mark Kadzielawa and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Universal, and is used for informational purposes only.